What is a candidate?
A candidate is defined in Sections 97.021(3) and 106.011(16), Florida Statutes, as any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:
- Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
- Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
- Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
- Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
- Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
However, this definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.
Please keep the following in mind:
County Commission candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of being elected to office.
School Board candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of qualifying.
If required, one's current position or office must be resigned under the "resign to run" law (Section 99.012(3), Florida Statutes).
When do I announce my candidacy?
You may tell folks at any time that you plan to run for office, however:
While your candidacy may be announced at any time, you MUST file the “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository
” (Form DS-DE 9) with the Supervisor of Elections Office BEFORE
you collect any money toward your candidacy, spend any money in furtherance of your candidacy, collect signatures to qualify by the petition process, or open a bank account. (Section 106.021, Florida Statutes)
You must also file a “Statement of Candidate
” (Form DS-DE 84) within ten (10) days of filing the “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository” (Section 106.023, Florida Statutes). The “Statement of Candidate” is provided by the Supervisor of Elections.
A judicial candidate must file a “Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office” (Form DS-DE 83) within ten (10) days of filing the “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository” (Section 106.023, Florida Statutes). The “Statement of Candidate” is provided by the Supervisor of Elections.
The filing officer for circuit court and legislative candidates is the Department of State Division of Elections.
Is it possible to run for a different office after I become a candidate?
Yes, under Section 106.021(1)(a), Florida Statutes, you may change your mind and run for a different office after becoming a candidate, providing that you do the following;
File a new “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository,” designating the new office.
Within 15 days of the new appointment, notify, in writing, all contributors and offer to return their contributions in full or pro rata. The “Request for Return of Contribution
” (Form DS-DE 86) may be used for this purpose.
If, after 30 days from this notice, the contributor has not requested his contribution to be returned, you may use the funds in the campaign for your newly designated office.
Call or visit our office! If you’re thinking about becoming a candidate, please give us a call or stop by our office for more information. And watch this site for qualifying dates, helpful publications and more, coming soon!
Candidate Party Change
S. 99.021 F.S. – CANDIDATES SEEKING A PARTY NOMINATION
Old Law: Candidate has not been a candidate for nomination of any political party for 6 months prior to general election for which the candidate seeks to qualify.
New Law: Candidate has not been a registered member of any other political party for 365 days before the beginning of qualifying preceding the general election for which the candidate seeks to qualify.
Effective upon becoming law May 2011, this means any candidate who has changed parties within 365 days of the beginning of qualifying will be ineligible to qualify as a political party candidate, but will be eligible to qualify as a candidate with no party affiliation.