2024 Collier County Primary Election Endorsed Republican Candidates

Background on Endorsement Process

The CCCVPAC consists of dedicated, long-standing Republicans, including three former Republican Party chairmen and representatives from the five Collier County Republican Clubs active last year.

Historically, the CCCVPAC has focused on rating candidates rather than issuing endorsements. This year, however, marks a significant change. The local Republican Executive Committee (CCREC) has adopted a more authoritarian stance, aiming to oust many current elected officials, revoke charters of established Republican clubs, and implement divisive tactics against those with differing opinions. This approach has driven away many long-standing members and could deter potential candidates, ultimately weakening our conservative representation.

In response, the CCCVPAC has provided its own endorsements this election season, offering conservative voters an alternative perspective that may differ from the CCREC. It’s important to note that the CCREC represents only a small fraction of Collier County Republicans.

While Collier County enjoys competent local governance, replacing experienced officials with angry, inexperienced individuals to address national issues could undermine our community’s standards.

Recognizing our diverse conservative base, the CCCVPAC board decided to endorse candidates only if they received a 60% or higher approval vote. Otherwise, we present the top picks. Below are the CCCVPAC’s endorsements as they appear on the ballot. Those who won’t be active until the November ballot have been left off. We are not allowed by law to endorse candidates for Federal Office.

Below are the endorsements voted by the CCCVPAC board in the order they appear on the ballot.

Yvette Benarroch

State Representative District 81 – Yvette Benarroch

Yvette Benarroch, a US Air Force veteran who served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, is a mom, small business owner, and grassroots conservative leader. She leads the Collier County chapter of Moms for Liberty, fighting to keep radical left ideology out of our schools. As co-owner of Affordable Landscaping Service & Design, LLC, and a licensed realtor, Yvette understands the importance of a strong economy, good jobs, low taxes, and excellent schools. She has engrained herself in Republican circles through participation and active work, as well as an officer with the Florida Federation of Republican Women.

Yvette has demonstrated her conservative values through her roles as Neighborhood Team Leader for both Trump Victory and Latinos for Trump 2020 campaigns, and for Governor DeSantis’s 2022 re-election campaign. She served as Vice Chairwoman for the Collier County GOP from 2020-2022 and is actively involved in numerous Republican organizations.

Yvette lives in Marco Island, Florida, with her husband, two teenage sons, and two Golden Retrievers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Yvette Benarroch has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Collier County Property Appraiser – Vickie Downs

Vickie Downs has familiarity in the appraiser’s office and has technical skills to bring the property appraiser to a new level. She is endorsed by current and long serving Property Appraiser Abe Skinner. Opponent Jim Molenaar has too checkered of a past to represent the values most of us share. See the reasons on Molenaar here.

With over 30 years of experience in the Collier County Property Appraiser’s office, she has a strong understanding of the intricacies of property assessment and valuation. She started at the bottom and worked to climb the ranks, and is now serving as Chief Deputy, shaping the office’s policies and practices.

Over the years, she’s responsible for managing all technical processes within the office. Additionally, she’s played a key role in fostering strong relationships between the offices of various Collier County departments, including constitutional officers, addressing, permitting, growth management, and building and zoning.

Vickie Downs has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Collier County Supervisor of Elections – Melissa Blazier

Melissa Blazier is the current Supervisor of Elections, appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2023.  She is endorsed by her predecessor, Jennifer Edwards, who appointed her the Chief Deputy 7 years ago.  As Chief Deputy Melissa has been responsible for conducting every election since 2016 and has performed exemplary.  Her consistent implementation of Florida statutes resulted in several recounts and reviews of election results ALL confirming the effectiveness and efficiency of Collier County ballots.

Melissa is a certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA) from the National Association of Election Officials (Election Center) and is a Master Florida Certified Elections Professional (MFCEP) through the Florida Supervisors of Elections (FSE).

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, magna cum laude, from Hodges University.

She grew up in Naples and graduated from Naples High School. She has been married to her husband Devon for 24 years and they have a son.  She is a graduate of the Associate Leadership Collier program (2010), the Leadership Collier program (2014) and the Leadership Marco class of 2019.  She has been named one of Gulf Shore Business’s Top Forty under 40, Distinguished Fundraising volunteer and Leadership Collier Volunteer of the year.  In 2022 she was named the Kiwanian of the Year by the Kiwanis Club of Naples.

She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 135, Election Center, iGO, Kiwanis Club of Naples, Leadership Collier Alumni Association, League of Women Voters, Naples Reagan Club, Republican Women of Southwest Florida Federated, and the Women’s Republican Club of Naples Federated.  She currently serves on the Leadership Collier Foundation Advisory Council and is President of the Kiwanis Club of Naples.

Melissa Blazier’s leadership and engagement in many successful elections in Collier County. Collier County us regarded as the Gold Standard for Florida, her community engagement and certification has earned her our CCCVPAC endorsement.

Melissa Blazier has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Burt Saunders

Collier County Commissioner District 3 – Burt Saunders

Burt Saunders, Collier County resident since 1982, has served with common-sense and transparent leadership, delivering practical results for our community. As a former County Attorney, State Representative and State Senator, Saunders brings decades of practical public service experience to our County Commission. He is running for re-election to continue making Collier the best place to raise a family and start a business.

Saunder’s work to bring a veterans nursing home and a VA campus began in 2016 and he needs to finish this best in class project in his next term.

Burt Saunders has continuously proven his ability to move the needle for projects. His years of proven experience at navigating the bureaucratic process of government gave him the nod over his often opponents who mean well but didn’t have the answers when questioned in candidate forums. He stands head and shoulders above his Republican opponents.

Burt Saunders has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

William L McDaniel

Collier County Commissioner District 5 – William L McDaniel

Bill McDaniel has a longstanding record of leadership in our community, through both business and civic engagement. He launched his first business, The Realty Company, in 1987 and currently owns Big Island Excavating Inc., a mining company with an office located in District 5 in eastern Collier County, and Lazy Springs Recreation Park in Fort Myers. McDaniel employs more than 35 Floridians.

Bill was a founding director of Marine National Bank in 1999, located in Collier County, and served as a director for two banks until 2007.

William L McDaniel shines over his opponent in his knowledge of the issues and finding a direction to move forward in a conservative manner, very mindful of reducing the tax burden on citizens and business alike.

Williman L McDaniel has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

State Committeeman – Douglas “Doug” Rankin

Doug Rankin is running to return to the office of Republican State Committeeman.  An office he held from 2008-2020.  While serving in those years Doug served as Chairman or Vice Chairman of his congressional district caucus and as such served on the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Executive Board.  He never missed a meeting during his years of service.

As state committeeman Attorney Rankin represents the Republicans of Collier County at the state level and participates on committees and caucuses to advocate for our values.  He is passionate about his mission.

We see Doug as the best opportunity to bring reason to the local party and lessen the deep divisions and rancor that currently exists locally, and also at the state and federal levels

Doug Rankin has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC

State Committeewoman – JoAnn DeBartolo and Kristina S Heuser 

In this race, neither candidate achieved the margin required to receive CCCVPAC endorsement, so we are listing both candidates.

JoAnn DeBartolo

JoAnn DeBartolo has engrained herself in Republican party activity and become a workhorse for tirelessly reaching out to voters to get Trump elected in 2016, 2020 and now again in 2024.

DeBartolo is the current State Committeewoman and diligently attends the functions to fulfill her duties to Collier County in representing our community to the State party.

JoAnn and Tom Ravana founded the Patriots for Florida club, which evolved from the Patriots for Trump Club in the 2016 election.

She has been an avid Trump supporter, as well as advocating for Governor Ron DeSantis.

If working the phones is a top priority – she deserves the nod.

Kristina S Heuser

Kristina S. Heuser

Kristina Heuser touts her credentials as a constitutional scholar, and her background and efforts bear that out. She is the former Chief Litigation Counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom, and currently serves as Legal Counsel to the American Constitutional Rights Union and as an Allied Attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom.

She’s recently played an active role in shaping Collier County and beyond, serving on the Collier County Republican Executive Committee, and recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of Florida Southwestern State College.

She’s been an active participant, and advocate for numerous conservative issues in the area and regularly speaks to elected officials to implement conservative values.

20th Judicial Circuit Court  (Group 6) – Erik Leontiev

Judge Erik Leontiev

Judge Erik Leontiev (Group 6) has garnered tremendous support from the judicial and attorney world and has proven himself to warrant re-election.

Judge Erik Leontiev is a first-generation American. His father enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces and served in the military his entire career.

Growing up a military brat, Judge Leontiev moved extensively, living in Europe, Central America, and three distinct regions of the United States before settling in Florida in 1999.

Judge Leontiev received his bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law.

In April of 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis chose Judge Leontiev to serve on the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court after previously appointing him as Judge on the Lee County Court in 2021. During his tenure as County Judge, Leontiev presided over civil cases, evictions, small claims, and traffic infractions. Judge Leontiev also served as Chairman of the Lee County Canvassing Board for the 2022 Primary and General Elections.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Leontiev served 14 years as an Assistant State Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. He held positions in the Postconviction, Sexually Violent Predators, Special Victims, and Economic Crimes Units, prosecuting cases in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Hendry Counties.

Judge Leontiev is happily married and the proud father of seven children. When not on the bench, he enjoys reading, fishing, working on cars, and spending time outdoors with his family.

Judge Erik Leontiev has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

20th Judicial Circuit Court  (Group 28) – Elizabeth Krier 

Judge Elizabeth Krier

Judge Elizabeth Krier has garnered tremendous support from the judicial and attorney world and has proven herself to warrant re-election.

Judge Krier was elected to the Circuit Court of Florida’s Twentieth Judicial Circuit in September of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. She has been re-elected without opposition in 2012 and 2018. Judge Krier has served in the felony, civil and probate, domestic violence, dependency, and family law divisions in Naples, Florida and in the civil division in Fort Myers, Florida. She is currently presiding over 60% of criminal felony cases in Naples and 25% of Probate and Guardianship cases. Judge Krier’s circuit court position was preceded by her work as a magistrate from January of 2005 through December of 2006. As a Magistrate, she presided over civil discovery proceedings and family law, dependency and probate hearings and trials.

Since taking office, Judge Krier has assumed a leadership role in the Twentieth Circuit and the State of Florida. She served as a member of Florida’s Statewide Dependency Court Improvement Panel, as the Chair of the Twentieth Circuit’s Long-Range Planning Committee, as co-chair of the Twentieth Circuit’s Dependency Model Court Committee, as a member of the Florida Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Judge Krier graduated with a BA from the University of Chicago and received her JD from Chicago Kent College of Law. She moved to Naples, Florida in 1985. During her 21-year legal career prior to her judicial service, Judge Krier practiced in the areas of marital and family law, and criminal law as a domestic and sexual violence prosecutor.

Throughout her legal career, Judge Krier has been involved in Bar activities for the Florida Bar, the Collier County Bar and the Family Law Sections of both.

Judge Krier is also active in community organizations and activities. She has served as a trustee at North Naples United Methodist Church, has been a member of the North Naples Rotary, is a graduate of Leadership Collier and Leadership Southwest Florida.

Judge Elizabeth Krier has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Collier County School Board District 2 – Stephanie Lucarelli

Stephanie Lucarelli

Stephanie Lucarelli is the current School Board member serving District 2.  She was initially elected in 2016 and reelected without opposition in 2020.

Stephanie grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree.  She then completed post graduate work to achieve a NJ State Science Teaching Certificate.  Teaching 7th and 8th grade science students.

Ms. Lucarelli and her husband, Dominic, moved to Naples in 2002.  They have 4 children all who have or are attending Collier County Public Schools.  She has served as a guest teacher in our public schools since 2013 and has volunteered countless hours at various schools since 2004.  She is a graduate of Leadership Collier and Leadership Florida and has been awarded Certified Board Member status several times through the FL School Board Association.

Recently, Lucarelli helped the Education Foundation of Collier County fill the position of Chief Operating Officer.  She chaired the search committee and coordinated the national search.

During her tenure on the board she led the effort to redraw school boundaries with the opening of Aubrey Rogers High School.  Most recently the board has established a Spending Reductions Workgroup while also approving a record increase for teacher salaries.  They have implemented a phonics program in the elementary schools and approved new social studies textbooks.

Ms. Lucarelli should be reelected in order to continue the improvements made in the past several years.

Stephanie Lucarelli has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Collier County School Board District 4 – Erick Carter

Erick Carter

Erick Carter was also elected initially in 2016 and reelected without opposition in 2020.  During his tenure the district has conducted business with financial acuity and remain on track to be Debt-Free by 2026 even with the continued building to accommodate the student growth in Collier County.

Erick grew up in South Carolina.  He was active in school government in high school and served as the student liaison to the Dorchester County School Board and Superintendent.  He attended Trident Technical College in North Charleston pursuing a career in the performing arts.  Erick achieved recognition in Shakespearean theatre.  He then became a ballroom dance instructor with a national company and had the opportunity to teach in Naples where he met his wife, Anita Ruiz.  They have been married for 25 years and have a son, Blake, who is a graduate of Naples High School.

Erick studied cosmetology and graduated from Lorenzo Walker Technical College which led to he and Anita opening their successful local business, Salon Zenergy.

Work needs to be continued to not only maintain but improve the Collier County School District performance.

With Stephanie and Erick along with Chair Kelly Mason the current superintendent was promoted in 2023.  Success has followed as noted above and also includes revising the Student Code of Conduct, implementing a board level Audit Committee, and completion of Maser Board Training.

Erick Carter has earned the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Going forward these 2 candidates wish to continue their fiscal efforts with

  • A Tax Neutral Referendum
  • 2025 budget adoption
  • Open more career pathways through Technical Colleges
  • Approval of a new and improved strategic plan.
  • Opening of Bear Creek Elementary
  • Boundary modification approval in advance of the opening of a new school

For the reasons and examples above along with their experience and performance as sitting Collier County School Board members along with their dedication to continuous improvement has earned them the endorsement of the CCCVPAC.

Greater Naples Fire Rescue District Ballot Amendment for .5 Mil Increase in Property Taxes.

Ballot Question: Soley for the construction of new fire stations and facilities, existing facilities improvements, and purchase of apparatus technology, and equipment, shall the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District be authorized to increase its currently authorized millage rate from 1.5 mills ($1.50 for every $1000.00 of assessed value) approved in 2014, up to 2.0 mills ($2000 for every $1000.00 of assessed value), for an 8 year period, with such revenues held in a capital improvement account?

Reasoning for voting No:

The current method of operating fire districts is changing rapidly, as 85% of calls for service are for medical. Yet the district sends big $1.5 million ladder trucks loaded with three personnel to service calls that only require someone to be picked up at a nursing home facility. The GG Fire District has not cooperated with other districts who would like to share facilities, such as North Collier Fire District who would like to share an area that is close to their service area, thereby reducing capital expenditures by the district.

Ad Valorum tax revenues have nearly doubled over the past few years, and impact fee tax collections have skyrocketed. There is not a revenue problem, there is a spending problem. There has been poor planning on capital expenditures as capital expenditures are generally done on a whim, versus planning with depreciated units and a planned calendar for replacement. This includes having fire personnel working in unsafe facilities while capital is used for other less priority items.

The Greater Naples Fire District should show by example they can operate on a more strategic manner before taking more money from already struggling taxpayers as they learn to be better stewards of their money.

Below is the taxes levied and collected over the past five years.

Collier County, Florida
Greater Naples Fire
Millage and Ad Valorem Analysis
Fiscal Year
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Source of Information
Millage Rate 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 DR-403, Property Appraiser’s Recapitulation of Taxes
Taxable Value  $ 20,785,823,346  $ 22,499,656,469  $ 24,299,921,927  $ 28,957,700,283  $ 33,650,543,823 DR-403, Property Appraiser’s Recapitulation of Taxes
Ad Valorem Taxes Levied  $         31,178,774  $         33,749,522  $         36,449,920  $         43,436,586  $         50,475,844 DR-403, Property Appraiser’s Recapitulation of Taxes
Total Ad Valorem Taxes Collected*  $         30,961,817  $         33,165,790  $         36,011,427  $         42,269,322 N/A Greater Naples ACFR
Impact Fees Collected  $            1,694,123  $            2,745,576  $            2,027,792  $            1,740,963 N/A Greater Naples ACFR
Value of 1 mill  $         20,785,823  $         22,499,656  $         24,299,922  $         28,957,700  $         33,650,544