Rival candidate sues to disqualify Carlos Giménez from CD 26 race

The suit stems from a spelling error on a check covering Giménez's ballot fee.

Republican candidate Omar Blanco is suing to disqualify Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez from a South Florida congressional race after a qualifying check from Giménez misspelled his own name.

That’s according to a report from the News Service of Florida (NSF).

Last Friday marked the qualifying deadline for congressional races. Giménez — who is term-limited out of his post as Miami-Dade County Mayor — opted to pay the $10,440 qualifying fee to appear on the ballot in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

But the check used to pay the fee noted that it came from “Carlos Giminez for Congress.” The Mayor’s congressional committee is named “Carlos Gimenez for Congress,” not “Giminez.”

Blanco is alleging that misspelling violates a Florida law requiring candidates to pay that fee via a “properly executed check drawn upon the candidate’s campaign account.”

As the lawsuit explains, per NSF, “It stands to reason that the legislative intent of these prequalification requirements was to ensure the transparency of the election process and to provide certainty as to the identity of the individual to be considered for election.”

According to Political Cortadito, Nicole Rapanos, a campaign spokesperson from Giménez, said the campaign had ordered new checks with the proper spelling in early April after noticing the error. Rapanos doubted the misspelling was enough to disqualify her candidate.

“Our bank account has the right spelling,” Rapanos said. “It was just a simple error on the check.”

Blanco and Giménez are the only two Republican candidates to qualify to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the CD 26 contest. That’s after Republican candidate Irina Vilariño withdrew from the contest one day before the qualifying period ended.

Should Giménez be disqualified, that would leave Blanco with a clear path to the general election.

Otherwise, Blanco may have a tough path forward. Giménez added more than $415,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31, his first quarter in the contest. Blanco raised about $8,000.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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