Carlos Gimenez foe takes ballot case to appeals court

Carlos Gimenez
The lawsuit is over a misspelled name on Gimenez' qualifying check.

A lawsuit over whether Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez properly qualified to run for a South Florida congressional seat is headed to an appeals court.

Omar Blanco, who is vying with Gimenez in the Republican primary in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, filed the lawsuit in April challenging Gimenez’s candidacy.

Blanco named as defendants Gimenez and Secretary of State Laurel Lee, who is Florida’s top elections official.

But Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson last week dismissed the complaint against Lee, finding that she “properly qualified candidate Gimenez and because it is too late to remove the candidate Gimenez from the ballot now that the election is underway.”

That led to Blanco filing a notice that he is appealing Dodson’s ruling to the Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal, according to court documents posted online Wednesday.

As is common, the notice does not detail the legal arguments that Blanco will make at the appeals court.

Blanco has argued, at least in part, that Gimenez did not comply with legal requirements to run for the congressional seat because a check used to pay Gimenez’s qualifying fee misspelled his name.

The $10,440 check submitted to the state in April indicated it was from “Carlos Giminez for Congress,” according to a copy included with the lawsuit.

Gimenez’s attorney filed a motion Friday in Leon County circuit court seeking a judgment in favor of the Mayor, saying the lawsuit is “being used solely for self-serving political reasons regardless of the actual legal merit of the claims.”

Blanco and Gimenez are running in the Aug. 18 GOP primary, with the winner moving on to the November election against Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

CD 26 is made up of Monroe County and part of Miami-Dade County.

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