Three of the seven seats on the Key West City Commission dais are now being contested by challengers who have filed paperwork to run against the incumbent mayor and two sitting commissioners.
Chiropractor Ryan Barnett, who owns Key West Chiropractic, is running against longtime District 6 Commissioner Clayton Lopez, whose district includes Bahama Village and other parts of Old Town. John Wilson Smith also filed to run against Lopez, but has not submitted a candidate statement or reported any campaign finance activity.
Lopez is still working on his campaign platform and information, but has said he welcomes the challenge and hopes for a clean and respectful race.
Barnett, who was born in Key West, says on the elections website, “Community service is important to me and servant leadership is my core value. … I’m also passionate about speaking to our youth about mental health and wellness. As a Conch, I love Key West. I represent the future of leadership. I have family and friends here; my business and my heart are here. My goal is to see Key West thrive as a community while embracing our unique One Human Family culture. We are in this together.”
In the New Town District 3, Kimball Ingram, who owns Aqua nightclub and the SideBar, is challenging incumbent Billy Wardlow.
This will be Lopez’s and Wardlow’s final term if they keep their seats in the coming election.
Ingram says in his campaign statement that he is running for the community and to gain a voice on the commission, not against any one person.
“No candidate should run unopposed and term limits should matter,” he states on the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections website. “Without opposition we have no opportunity to challenge the status quo. Normally, the commissioner would be termed out after 12 years. This year, because of a change in dates for the election, the term limit that should be imposed was suspended.”
Wardlow, who has served on the City Commission since 2009, says in a campaign video that he has worked to improve communication among the city management, staff and the public, giving everyone a voice in the community.
“We’ve also added numerous parks, including Cozumel Park with a splash pad, in our district, and the Coffee Butler Amphitheater at Truman Waterfront. City taxes haven’t gone up in years — it’s the property values that have gone up. And now we’re working to improve our streets and sidewalks.”
In the Key West mayor’s race, incumbent Teri Johnston faces former commissioner and bar owner Mark Rossi as well as Key West native and real estate broker Rick Haskins.
Key West commission seats are non-partisan, so the city elections could be decided in the August primary if one candidate garners 512% of the vote.