Republican Scotty Moore has been reinstated to the ballot in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, as his challenge of his disqualification was joined to that of James Judge, who got reinstated Wednesday.
Both Republican candidates had qualified for the ballot on June 17. But both were removed from the ballot a few days later when Division of Election officials realized they had turned in the wrong forms for their party oaths.
Each sued the Division of Elections to be reinstated.
In Judge’s case, which came up first, Leon Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey ruled the state’s rules were ambiguous for candidates. She issued an injunction of the Division of Elections decision and on Wednesday ordered Judge’s name to appear on ballots in the CD 14 GOP Primary.
Late Thursday Dempsey agreed to join the two cases, She extended her order to Moore, reinstating him to the CD 9 GOP Primary.
In both cases, however, the injunctions are temporary, pending a full decision of the lawsuit challenges, or settlements between the candidates and the Division of Elections. The pair still run a risk of being found in violation of the election rules and ultimately being ruled ineligible in the court case.
However, ballots are close to being sent to printers for the Aug. 23 Primary Elections. Supervisors of Elections asked the judge to issue an immediate decision to at least reserve the candidates’ rights to go before voters. Once the ballots are printed, if the candidates’ names do not appear on them, things would become far more complicated if the candidates are fully reinstated.
CD 9 represents Osceola County and part of southern Orange County.
Moore had expressed confidence immediately that he would be reinstated. He said that he and his campaign were told they had everything in order when they turned in their paperwork on June 14, and that there is no significant difference between the form he provided and the one that was required.
Both Moore and Judge signed and turned in the Republican Party oath for state or local candidates, instead of the required one for federal candidates.
“We feel certain once all the facts are made public and ascertained that we will still be a candidate for Congress,” Moore said Sunday.
The Republican primary there also includes Jose Castillo, Adianis Morales, and Sergio Ortiz. They’re all vying for a shot at three-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Kissimmee.