Case dismissed: Dan Raulerson to remain in House - Florida Politics

Case dismissed: Dan Raulerson to remain in House

A Tallahassee judge has tossed out a lawsuit over the use of “Wite Out” on state Rep. Dan Raulerson‘s re-election filing paperwork.

In an order issued Wednesday, Circuit Judge Charles W. Dodson dismissed the case brought by Jose N. Vazquez Figueroa, the Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Raulerson last year for the House District 58 seat.

Dodson ruled he did not have jurisdiction to decide the matter and threw out the suit “with prejudice,” meaning Vazquez can’t refile it.

Raulerson’s lawyer, Emmett Mitchell, had argued in a Tuesday court hearing that the judge couldn’t decide the case because the House of Representatives is the sole judge of its membership under the state constitution.

Dodson dismissed the case against Raulerson, a Plant City Republican, as well as the other defendants: Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer; Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s chief elections officer; and Kristi Reid Bronson, records bureau chief for the Division of Elections.

Vazquez had faulted them for allowing Raulerson to run in the first place. He said Raulerson never should have qualified because his notary had incorrectly used “correction fluid” on his filing paperwork.

The state’s notary manual says no correction fluid of any kind is allowed on notarized documents.

Vazquez had argued the notary “improperly completed” Raulerson’s paperwork by whiting out the date on her notarization of his financial disclosure, changing it from an April to a June date.

In a brief phone interview Wednesday night, Vazquez – who had represented himself – said he will appeal the decision and is considering filing a separate election fraud case against the notary.

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Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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