Republican congressional candidate Scotty Moore may be back on the ballot in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, but his Primary Election opponent Jose Castillo called on Moore to own his paperwork mistake and drop out.
“He’s the one who signed that form, even though now he’s blaming his staff. He’s blaming others, instead of taking self responsibility for the mistake that he made,” Castillo said in a six-minute campaign video he placed on social media.
“If this individual cannot accept responsibility for his own actions, his own mistakes, how can we expect him to go to Washington, to go to Congress, and vote on laws that are going to affect our over 700,000 constituents?” Castillo challenged.
Moore shot back, accusing Castillo of “swamp” politics, trying to disenfranchise voters, and trying to avoid facing him in the Republican Primary.
Castillo was referring to the party oath document candidates must sign. Moore turned in the wrong one. When it was later discovered, he was disqualified from the ballot.
Moore sued, contending there was no substantial difference between the local and state office party oath form he signed and the federal one that was required, and that the state staff had initially assured him everything was in order. On Thursday, a judge reinstated Moore to the ballot. But that’s an interim decision because ballots can’t be revised once printed. His full eligibility remains a question for the court to decide.
Castillo’s campaign filed a motion late Thursday to intervene in the case before Leon Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey. Castillo wants to argue Moore should not have qualified, because he failed to follow Florida law.
In CD 9, which covers Osceola County and southern Orange County, there are two other Republicans on the ballot: Adianis Morales and Sergio Ortiz. They, Moore and Castillo all vying for a shot at three-term incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Kissimmee.
Moore called Castillo’s video and court brief “a political stunt.”
“Jose Castillo and his team are disenfranchising Republican primary voters from having their voice heard. This is ‘swamp’ politics at its worst in an attempt to keep me off the ballot,” Moore shot back in a news release. “I will not stand for it, and neither should you.
“In America, we should be encouraging voter and candidate participation, rather than trying to stifle political participation. That is not the American system, and this initial ruling reaffirms that. Mr. Castillo needs to stop playing political games by distracting voters from the real issues: retaking the House, firing Nancy Pelosi, and saving America,” Moore added.
Castillo also went to election integrity as an issue in the matter. He said Moore could not do what was done by 762 other candidates in Florida, including 181 federal candidates: get his paperwork right. Now, Castillo charged, he’s trying to get around the rules.
“We’re going to fight this. We’re going to fight for election integrity,” Castillo said.