What is a Candidate?
A candidate is defined in 97.021(3), Florida Statues, 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 a 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 their consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures with a view to bringing about their nomination or election to, or retention in, public office;
Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates (DS-DE 9) a primary depository; or
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.
So You want to run for office. Some things to start you thinking.
Candidate Residency Requirements
Candidate Political Party Requirements:
Section 99.021(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2011), provides: "[A]ny person seeking to qualify for nomination as a candidate of any political party shall, at the time of subscribing to the oath or affirmation, state in writing: ... 2. That the person 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 person seeks to qualify."
Campaign Treasurer’s Reports: (F.S. 106.07)
Each candidate shall appoint a campaign treasurer by filing the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates (Form DS-DE 9). Before opening a campaign account and before accepting contributions or making expenditures, this form must be filed. A candidate may appoint himself or herself as a campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer. Once the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates form has been filed, the campaign treasurer must file regular reports of all contributions received and all expenditures made. Reports are filed on a monthly basis and more frequently as it gets closer to an election. You will be provided a schedule with the beginning and ending dates of reporting periods as well as the corresponding designated due dates. A Waiver of Report must be filed if no contributions were received and no expenditures were made during a reporting period.
What is a Contribution: anything of value (anything) made for the purpose of influencing the results of an election including: contributions in-kind, having an attributable monetary value in any form.
When do I announce my candidacy?
Candidacy may be announced at any time.
To be a candidate you must file Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9) with the Supervisor of Elections' office before any contributions are accepted, expenditures are made, or any petitions are collected (106.021, Florida Statutes) Form DS-DE 9 maybe found at https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/forms-publications/forms/
A candidate must 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 (106.023, Florida Statutes).
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 (Form DS-DE 9) (106.023, Florida Statutes).
Those running for office could make an appointment with the Supervisor of Elections office to complete other forms need to run for office.
Legislative Candidates must contact the filing officer with the Department of State Division of Elections.
Is it possible to run for a different office after I become a candidate?
Yes, under 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 Contributions (Form DS-DE 86) may be used for such 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.
Candidate Petition Process:
A person running for office must complete and turn into the Supervisor of Elections form DS-DE 9 (Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository For Candidates) prior to collecting any contributions or petitions DS-DE 104 - English DS-DE 104 - Spanish.
Candidates may pre-fill their name, their party, the title of office including district, circuit, group, or seat number, county, and state on the petition. The voter must sign and date the petition. The candidate may not sign the voter's signature or date the petition.
Think about a Budget and get help.
A candidate should be mindful of the required disclaimers: (Link to candidate's handbook)
Partisan office paid for by a candidate: “Paid by (Name), (party affiliation), for (office sought).”
Nonpartisan office paid for by a candidate: “Paid by (Name), for (office sought).”
The word “for” must be used in the body of such advertisement between the name of the candidate and the office sought. (Example: Candidates Name for Office Sought)
Florida Statutes, 106.143 (6) No political advertisement of a candidate who is not an incumbent of the office for which the candidate is running shall use the word “re-elect.” Additionally, such advertisement must include the word “for” between the candidate’s name and the office for which the candidate is running, in order that incumbency is not implied.
This subsection does not apply to bumper stickers or items designed to be worn by a person. This section also does not apply to novelty items having a retail value of $10 or less which support, but do not oppose, a candidate or issue.
Placement of political signs falls under the code enforcement boards of:
Monroe County, City of Key West, City of Marathon, City of Key Colony Beach
City of Layton, and/or the Village of Islamorada.
Vote by Mail (formally known as Absentee) Ballot Q. & A.
Forms and documents required by the end of qualifying week:
Special Districts and City Candidates - Financial Disclosure Form 1 for the prior year.
All other Candidates Financial Disclosure Form 6 for the prior year.
Candidate (Loyalty) Oath
Qualifying Check from the campaign account or Certificate of Petitions
* City candidates need a check from the campaign account for the 1% Election Assessment Fee
Ballot Name – Use of Nickname -
In summary, ordinarily a candidate must use his or her Christian or given name and surname, unless it can be shown that the candidate is known by another name which he or she has adopted and under which he or she transacts private and official business. In addition, a candidate may use a legitimate nickname and, where confusion would result, the candidate may use a descriptive designation.
Ballots Name - Descriptive terms, titles, degrees, certifications - A qualifying officer may not place information such as descriptive terms, titles, degrees, certifications, associations, or similar information next to the candidate's name on the ballot unless there is another person on the ballot who is seeking the same office and whose name is so similar as to reasonably cause confusion.
When do Candidates take office: