Marion County Commission district 4 race features three republican candidates

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:46 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida’s primary election is just over two weeks away. On the ballot in Marion County are three Republicans vying for the county commission district four seat.

First on the ballot is general contractor Keith Poole. On his campaign website, he describes himself as an “American Christian” who believes “in the U.S. Constitution.”

When asked to introduce himself, he said “I’m not a politician. I’m not politically correct. I’m a businessman,” during TV20′s political forum in July.

One of his main focuses on the campaign trail has been to comment on his opponent, Rachel Sams, past.

“Your lies, your deceit, your fraud are all coming back to haunt you,” Poole wrote in a Facebook post on July 23, calling out Sams’s husband Matthew.

In 2017, an investigative report was done by the Allen, Norton, and Blue law firm based in Tallahassee. They were hired by the City of Ocala to investigate claims of sexual harassment and racist discrimination done by Police Chief Greg Graham.

It was on September 15, 2016, the report states, when officers Rachel Mangum (Sams’ maiden name), Casey Walsh, and Tony J. Watts filed a formal complaint with their attorney at the time Bobi Frank.

Sams’ claimed that Chief Graham made inappropriate comments about her chest. A complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and “nearly fourth months” later, a complaint was sent to Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn and Council President at the time, James Hilty Sr.

In 2019, Sams’ was paid a settlement of $75,000 in the case.

To wrap up her comments during the July political forum, Sams’ asked for the voters “to do [their] homework” and took a jab back at Poole calling him ‘a bought and paid for” candidate.”

Carl Zalak is the incumbent. Zalak was first elected to the county commission when he was 30 years old. Now 12 years later, he’s asking voters for another four-year term.

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