Joe Saunders sues to stop aunt from running as ‘Moe Saunders’
Image via Joe Saunders.

Joe Saunders
'Maureen Saunders Scott is attempting to deceive, mislead and confuse voters.'

House District 106 candidate Joe Saunders is suing his aunt for running against him with a pseudonym remarkably similar to his name.

Saunders filed a complaint against Maureen Saunders Scott for filing as a no-party candidate in HD 106 under the name “Moe Saunders.”

“This is a clear violation of Florida law, and the facts speak for themselves: Maureen Saunders Scott is attempting to deceive, mislead and confuse voters supporting Joe Saunders by using a false nickname on the ballot,” said Kendall Coffey, an attorney for Joe Saunders’ campaign.

“She has not acted in good faith or with honest purpose, and has therefore failed to properly qualify as a candidate. In defense of our democracy, this kind of conduct must not be allowed and ‘Moe Saunders’ must not appear on the ballot in November.”

Joe Saunders, a Democrat, also sued Secretary of State Cord Byrd and Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White in their official capacities, in hopes of having Saunders Scott disqualified from the ballot.

Joe Saunders, the only Democratic candidate filed, is running in the district served by incumbent Rep. Fabian Basabe, a Miami Beach Republican. Basabe won the seat in 2022 by just 242 votes.

By filing as an independent, Saunders Scott will advance to the November General Election, where the name “Moe Saunders” will appear immediately under Joe Saunders’ name on the ballot. The top line will go to the Republican nominee. Basabe also faces Republican Melinda Almonte in a Primary.

The lawsuit contends that Saunders Scott should not be allowed because of various misrepresentations on her paperwork besides the use of the name “Moe Saunders.” The complaint alleges that Saunders Scott lives in St. Johns County, far from HD 106. And while state law only requires a candidate to live in the district at the point they take office, Saunders Scott wrote that she was a qualified elector in Miami-Dade County when she filed her paperwork and signed a candidate oath.

Saunders Scott on social media pushed back at the lawsuit. She claimed she has used the nickname “Moe” in the past.

“A ‘Fake’ nickname of over 40 yrs?” she wrote on X. “Is Joe suggesting that is not what he has called me his whole life?”

On her X profile, Saunders Scott calls herself a “SADISTIC INCESTUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR STILL BEING PUNISHED FOR COMING FORWARD.” After the lawsuit was filed, she also posted: “the lengths my family will go to cover up sexual predators, regardless of political affiliation!”

In the lawsuit, Saunders asserts that even though Saunders Scotthas routinely used the nickname “Mo,” she never spelled it with an “e” on the end until she filed as a candidate. The complaint points to social media posts where Saunders Scott calls herself “Aunt Mo.” She only took on the name “Moe Saunders” on social media after filing for office.

“This alleged nickname was invented by Defendant Scott for purposes of confusing, deceiving and misleading voters by appearing alongside Plaintiff’s name on the general election ballot, with the intent to fraudulently syphon votes from ‘Joe Saunders’ to the similarly appearing ‘Moe Saunders.’”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


5 comments

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  • Slim chance of eliminating from ballot

    June 25, 2024 at 2:38 pm

    Mo will be on the ballot instead of “Moe,” unless they prove intent to mislead in which case it will be “Maureen.”

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  • Paul Passarelli

    June 25, 2024 at 8:55 pm

    Sure as shit will confuse the dead people he was hoping to have vote for him!
    Democrats want to make the rules and have the last say as to how the rules are interpreted. They really hate a level playing field.

  • Michael K

    June 26, 2024 at 8:35 am

    For consistency, shouldn’t the name on the ballot be the same name as the registered voter?

    Go ahead and try to vote using a nickname.

    If there is a nickname, isn’t it usually in parenthesis?

Comments are closed.


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