Close this search box.

Okaloosa County Candidate Forum to be held on June 27 in Fort Walton Beach

The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a Candidate Forum on Thursday, June 27, at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium. The event will begin with a “Meet […]

The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a Candidate Forum on Thursday, June 27, at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium. The event will begin with a “Meet the Candidates” session at 5:00 PM, followed by moderated questions and answers.

Candidates for Okaloosa County Commissioner Districts 1, 3, and 5, Okaloosa School Board District 2, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff have been invited to participate in the forum. The invited candidates include:

County Commissioner, District 1:

  • Paul Mixon (Qualified)
  • De’Carlo Garcia

County Commissioner, District 3:

  • Keri Pitzer (Qualified)
  • Andrew Rencich (Qualified)
  • Sherri Cox
  • Wade Merritt
  • Heath Rominger

County Commissioner, District 5:

  • Mary Anne Windes (Qualified)
  • Drew Palmer (Qualified)

School Board, District 2:

  • Dewey Parker Destin (Qualified)
  • David Schmidt (Qualified)


  • Eric Aden (Qualified)
  • Ronald Livingston (Qualified)

Ted Corcoran, CEO of the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the importance of hosting these forums for the past 20 years.

“A normal municipal election/primary election may only generate interest from less than 20% of the registered voters. Thus, an open forum allows interested citizens to really get a feel for the candidates they feel are best suited for our community,” he said. “With elections sometimes separated by only a handful of votes—being informed is important for the voter—but also very much for the candidate where each vote counts.”

Corcoran also discussed the challenges of organizing such events, noting that the hardest part is getting the word out to as many Okaloosa County voters as possible. To help, the Forum will be live streamed on and available for review after the event. 

  • Corcoran noted that live streaming has been a “game changer” for this style of information exchange, with more people expected to watch online than attend in person.

Attendees can expect a two-hour event with candidate introductions, closing comments, and a minimum of four questions per candidate. The Chamber aims to ensure impartiality by maintaining a strict timeline for introductions, questions, and conclusions, and encouraging candidates to focus on their own plans rather than criticizing opponents.

Corcoran, who has experience running for local office, expressed gratitude for the candidates, stating, “Local offices influence more that happens in our quality of life than State and National. Thus, I am ALWAYS grateful for those who raise their hand to say – ‘I believe I can do great things to keep moving Okaloosa County forward.’”

The event is co-sponsored by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors. The qualifying period for the 2024 Election Cycle is from noon on June 10, 2024, to noon on June 14, 2024.

Join the conversation...

Continue reading 👇

Community Comments

“You are saying that they are plans in the future for another high school well my question would why are you wanting for. You see that the schools are are...”
“Is the child still living? Great job saving this baby.”
“Just around the corner in Mossy Head!”
“Called the number listed 850 882 6258 which asks for a mailbox number. Not helpful. Looking for more information on hiring event scheduled for July 24 & July 25”
“The baby floated from their boat about 100 ft down to my boat, where family members seen bathing suit and the wife's sent alex over to get it. When he...”
“Not a good idea, it will block traffic both at entry and exit. There is also too much water drainage that would have nowhere to go and cause flooding. Just...”
“What is an 11 month old doing in the water by itself?”
“Congratulations to you, Dr. Kelley!”
“Agreed. We made several phone calls to get a picture of Mr. Hinely. We were not provided one.”
“It would have been nice to see a photo of Mr. Hinely”