BREVARD COUNTY AND SEMINOLE COUNTY, Florida -- First time candidate, Republican Ken Rhoden, is the only candidate in his race who qualified for the ballot by Petition. Rhoden is running for the office of Public Defender, 18th Judicial Circuit, encompassing Brevard and Seminole County. No candidate has qualified for this position by petition for more than a decade.
Qualifying by petition is no easy task. Candidates for Public Defender must either pay $9,004.62 or have 6,240 verified voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. According to the Florida State Department, Division of Elections, Ken Rhoden is the only candidate in the race for Public Defender (18th Circuit) who qualified by ballot petition.
Rhoden said, “Our team did an outstanding job. During the petition drive we collected over 10,000 signatures and distributed more than 25,000 campaign handouts.” The Ken Rhoden campaign submitted 8,766 petitions and 7,275 were certified by the Supervisor of Elections.
The Public Defender’s Office sought by Rhoden serves all of Brevard and Seminole counties. This office represents indigent criminal defendants and employs approximately 100 people including 64 attorneys.
Rhoden is a Florida native and has been a resident of Brevard County since 1975. He is a graduate of Brevard Community College, University of Central Florida, and Florida State University School of Law. A former construction worker and carpenter, Rhoden has been an attorney since 1986, serving 12 years as an Assistant Public Defender and in private practice for the last 14 years. He is one of a few local, private attorneys and the only candidate in this race qualified under Florida Supreme Court Rules to handle death penalty cases. He is currently a managing partner with Mario, Gunde, Peters, Rhoden & Kelley, Brevard County’s largest criminal and family law firm.