Politics has poured through Meredith Linley’s veins nearly her entire life.
Before she could vote, Linley was stuffing envelopes and volunteering on political campaigns.
More recently, she’s been a paid consultant for Citrus County political candidates.
Now Linley is joining the race herself.
Linley on Wednesday became the third person to file paperwork to run in 2020 for Citrus County supervisor of elections to replace Susan Gill, who is retiring next year. All three candidates are Republicans.
“I’m running because campaigns and elections are what I’m passionate about,” said Linley, who lives in Crystal River. “At some point in high school, I started looking at the supervisor of elections office and thought that would be a great goal to have.”
Linley was a 15-year-old Crystal River High School student when Gill was first elected to elections supervisor. Because Gill has run unopposed since then, Linley noted that 2020 will the first chance she has to vote for election supervisor when she casts a ballot for herself.
Linley grew up in Homosassa. Her father, Tom, is a former manager of the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. She graduated from Crystal River High and Florida State University.
She has high marks for Gill and the office as it now stands.
“I think she’s done an amazing job,” Linley said. “Our current election process is 100 percent above the bar to the letter of the law.”
Linley has some ideas about encouraging voter participation and educating candidates and potential candidates.
“I will be a proponent of cultivating leaders,” she said. “You see a lot of the same people running for offices.”
Also in the race are Maureen “Mo” Baird, who has worked in the office since 1985 and is the operations manager, and former Commissioner Scott Adams. Gill on Tuesday endorsed Baird, which Linley acknowledged was disappointing.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bummed about it,” she said. “If Susan has that much confidence in Mo and she wants to endorse her, she has that right.”
Linley said it won’t affect her campaign.
“I have waited for this moment,” she said, “and I’m only focused on this moment.”