An appeals court has ruled to restore Republican Congressional candidate Jerry Torres permanently to the ballot.
The ruling, made by the First District Court of Appeal, comes after a short legal battle that threatened to remove Torres as a candidate in the GOP Primary for Florida’s 14th Congressional District. The Florida Democratic Party and other plaintiffs sued to have Torres kicked off the ballot based on qualifying papers being notarized remotely while Torres was out of the country. The case alleged Torres illegally had a Mississippi notary sign off on a candidate oath while he was in Africa.
“I am pleased that the court upheld the rights of the voters to choose their candidate. This was nothing but a politically motivated boondoggle brought by desperate Democrats who are afraid to face me in a General Election. Team Torres is moving full speed ahead to victory on Tuesday,” Torres said in a statement.
Now, Torres is back on the ballot and votes for Torres will count, since his name appeared on ballots that have already been sent out by mail to voters in CD 14. In announcing the decision, Torres said his “faith in our justice system is now restored.”
He faces Republican opponents James Judge and Sam Nashagh in a Republican Primary on Aug. 23. The winner of that race will likely face Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in the General Election. She faces a challenger in the Democratic Primary — Christopher Bradley.
Torres, founder and former CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, had committed to spending as much as $15 million in hopes of unseating Castor. But, whoever wins the Republican nomination in CD 14 faces an enormous uphill climb against incumbent Castor, the likely Democratic nominee, as she seeks her ninth term to represent the deeply blue Tampa district.
Under a new map signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the seat leans heavily Democratic and covers downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg. About 58.8% of voters in the district as newly configured voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election, and just 39.72% favored Republican Donald Trump.