A Pinellas circuit judge has removed Republican state House candidate Austin Brownfield from contention in House District 57. That means Jensen Beach Republican Adam Anderson now has won a first term in the House unopposed.
Judge Keith Meyer reached a final judgment on Friday that Brownfield was ineligible to run in a Republican Primary.
A new Florida law requires candidates to be registered members of their chosen political party at least 365 days before the beginning of the qualifying period. But Brownfield changed his party registration to Republican in March. The prior July, he had shifted his registration to no party affiliation.
After the issue was first reported by Florida Politics, Pinellas County voter Ron Ogden filed a lawsuit challenging Brownfield’s eligibility.
“Brownfield is not a lawfully qualified candidate for nomination because he has not been a registered member of the Republican Party for 365 days before the beginning of qualifying,” the lawsuit contended.
Brownfield in legal filings argued that because he had been registered as a Republican more than a year in his life, that should satisfy the requirement. He also lamented to Florida Politics before the case was heard that the new law wouldn’t allow him to register as a candidate without party affiliation either, rendering it impossible to run.
He did not say whether he would appeal Meyer’s decision to a higher court.
“The only reason I ran at all is for we the people, under the premise of the founding of our country,” Brownfield said. “All I can say is, have faith, have grace, and where we go one, we go all,” he added, referencing a slogan popular with the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Any decision must be made and settled quickly. Brownfield’s name will appear on ballots already sent out by mail in the House district, but as things stand, no votes cast for Brownfield will count.
If Brownfield’s candidacy were restored there would be a Primary open to all voters registered in the district held on Aug. 23.
Anderson could not be reached for comment. He has continued to campaign on social media and in person within the district, and posted pictures of his signs as recently as Monday. He visited with business owners in the district last week.
July 18, 2022 at 6:59 pm
WRONG ! It is enabling monopolizing. We urge Brownfield to appeal !
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