pasco judge disqualifies desantis-backed faculty board candidate, legal professionals say

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a lawsuit challenged the candidacy of al hernandez, announcing he did not legally are living in district 1 through the qualifying deadline

a pasco county decide threw a wrench into the county’s last school board race on monday, maintaining that the properly-funded candidate endorsed by means of gov. ron desantis did now not qualify for the ballot .

state regulation calls for school board applicants to are living in the district they’re seeking to represent by the cease of the qualifying duration, which was midday on june 17.

circuit decide susan barthle discovered that alvaro “al” hernandez, a humana executive sponsored by means of an awful lot of the county republican status quo, did no longer meet that mandate, consistent with legal professionals who attended a listening to in her courtroom monday.

neither hernandez nor his attorney might be reached for comment.

barthle heard the problem on the request of steve meisman, who positioned third inside the august number one and alleged that he would have received if hernandez had no longer seemed at the poll. meisman asked that barthle remove hernandez from the overall election, where he faces trainer james washington, and place meisman’s name before electorate instead.

barthle did no longer take that path, even though, stated charles kelly, meisman’s lawyer.

“there had been several options the choose may want to have chosen,” kelly said. “the one she selected basically exceeded the election to mr. washington.”

consistent with kelly and craig whisenhunt, washington’s legal professional, the choose determined that it might be unfair to citizens to change the listing of applicants at this factor, due to the fact mail-in vote casting had already all started. beneath her reasoning, whisenhunt said, hernandez is a disqualified candidate and there’s no substitution or replacement at this juncture, leaving washington as the only remaining candidate.

there nevertheless is room for an attraction after the decide officially files the order.

meisman said he supposed to pursue that option, contending hernandez “denied me my civil rights via dishonest.” he expected an appellate panel would furnish him the ability to be on the poll, perhaps in a unique election.

meisman praised barthle’s number one ruling, announcing it become primarily based on sound reasoning.

hernandez has acknowledged he lived in a gated odessa network on the time of qualifying, and that a home he sold in april in zephyrhills changed into no longer equipped for his family to move into via mid june.

“i agree with this is a victory for the little man,” meisman said. “the status quo is on notice. you aren’t going which will run roughshod over startup candidates any extra.”

washington additionally welcomed the choose’s choice on hernandez’s eligibility. he, too, had confronted a assignment to his residency, however meisman withdrew that complaint.

with the ability for an enchantment looming, washington stressed that he became not taking anything without any consideration and would continue to campaign and urge supporters to vote.
“i need the issues to be the element that get me elected, now not a technicality,” he stated. “i need to make certain the electorate speak.”

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