Claiming the office has a “number of compliance issues,” former Commissioner Scott Adams filed paperwork Tuesday to run next year for Citrus County supervisor of elections.
Adams, who has won one county commission race and lost four, becomes the second Republican to declare for the office after six-term incumbent Susan Gill announced she would retire after the 2020 election. The other is Maureen “Mo” Baird, a 34-year elections office veteran who is operations manager.
Adams said the elections office should have someone on staff to investigate voter fraud, though he gave no indication any fraud is actually occurring other than the allegations he made in an unsuccessful lawsuit last year against Gill and Commissioner Scott Carnahan over Carnahan’s residency.
“There’s numerous compliance issues here in Citrus County that’s been overlooked,” he said during a Chronicle interview, without providing a single example even when asked. “Maybe it’s not what we haven’t been enforcing. We’ll get into that later.”
He also claimed that Citrus specifically was “named nationally as one of the counties that had problems.”
Asked to cite his source of that information, Adams said: “It was on Fox News.”
Adams lost his first county commission race in 2000 but was elected in 2012. He lost a re-election race to current Commissioner Brian Coleman and made another attempt in 2018 against incumbent Scott Carnahan.
During that campaign, Adams sued both Carnahan and Gill, claiming Carnahan improperly listed a Floral City address on his voter registration application when he actually lived in Crystal River. He asked a judge to toss Carnahan from the ballot because Crystal River is not in the district he represents.
Carnahan acknowledged committing a “small mistake” by living outside his district, but then signed a lease for a house in Floral City within the district.
Adams lost the lawsuit, then asked State Attorney Brad King to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Carnahan. King’s one-word response to Adams: “No.”
Gill, who said Tuesday she is endorsing her assistant Baird for the 2020 race, said Adams has not been able to show any wrongdoing.
“He took it to the state attorney. Did the state attorney do anything with it? He sued us in court. What happened?” Gill said. “We follow the law in this office.”
Along with hiring an investigator for voter fraud, Adams said a deputy should accompany ballots as they are being transported from precinct locations to the supervisor’s office on Election Night.
Adams said he has the expertise to oversee the elections office.
“I’ve been in politics. I’ve approved budgets,” he said. “I bring more administrative professionalism and experience than most people. I’ve done it my whole life. It takes a good administrative person to lead their employees and lead this county to a safe and secure election process.”
Note: This story was updated to reflect that Adams has run for office five times, not four.