Oh, for a signature! Paperwork error keeps Tod Cloud off HD 23 ballot

Tallahassee, FL, USA - February 11, 2022: Florida State Capitol sign and seal in Tallahassee, FL, USA. The Florida State Capitol is a Capitol Complex that provides headquarters for state government.
'I spent a lot of my own money, a lot of time.'

Tod Cloud had just wrapped up a second-place finish in the 2022 House District 23 race when he set his sights on 2024.

Knowing that incumbent Ralph Massullo had hit the term limit ceiling, Cloud opened a campaign account in January 2023. He collected about $10,000 and loaned the campaign $3,000. His campaign signs are scattered throughout the district, which covers Citrus and the Dunnellon area of Marion County.

Cloud, a retired state trooper from Homosassa, enthusiastically campaigned hoping to defeat his Republican primary opponent, JJ Grow.

But he won’t get the chance.

A paperwork snafu ended Cloud’s campaign before it began in earnest. Cloud hadn’t noticed he needed the candidate oath form notarized.

“It’s my own fault. Must be a new rule,” Cloud said.

Cloud thought he had qualified for the ballot until a reporter told him Friday afternoon that the Division of Elections website showed his status as “active” and not “qualified,” as it should be.

He called the division to learn that the “candidate oath” form required a notary’s signature.

“I spent a lot of my own money, a lot of time,” he said. “Nothing I can do about it.”

Cloud’s removal from the race eliminates the need for a Republican Primary. Instead, Grow will face Democrat Judith Vowels in the Nov. 5 election.

Cloud and Grow, coincidentally, were expected to face one another in 2022. Massullo went for re-election when Gov. Ron DeSantis thwarted his plans for a Senate run. Grow dropped from the race, and Cloud finished second behind Massullo with 25% in a three-candidate race.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


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    Certainly not a new rule!

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