Governor-elect Ron DeSantis is rounding out his administration for the next four years. Michael Ertel, the soon-to-be former election’s chief in Seminole County, was named the state’s incoming secretary of state by DeSantis on Friday.
Ertel previously applied for the position under Governor Rick Scott, but that job went to another Republican, Ken Detzner.
What makes this move good for Floridians, and DeSantis as well, is that the secretary of state is in charge of elections. Ertel has been Seminole’s supervisor of elections since 2005 and has done a good job.
In Central Florida, he’s probably the most well-known supervisor of elections and is certainly the most charismatic. Ertel talks honestly and openly about what it takes to pull off a clean election and how hard his office works to make elections efficient for residents.
His presence and leadership in Seminole will be missed. The county’s demographics are changing and so are the numbers for political parties. Judging by the latest trends, Democrats may run the county by 2020. There are 104,649 registered Democrats in Seminole compared to 111,673 Republicans.
Seminole used to be a solidly red county, but Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson won the county this past November, which means that Ertel’s chances of remaining elections supervisor were slim.
He may have lasted one more cycle, but after that, his political career would have taken a turn. Wanting to become secretary of state was likely tops on his list, but understanding how politics works helps, too.
Ertel will make a great secretary of state for Florida and will do a great job. He’s polished, detail orientated, has what’s best for Floridians in mind, and understands the state’s political landscape.
But with him out of the fray in Seminole, what’s next for the county’s election’s office? Better yet, who will DeSantis name to replace Ertel?