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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Resident challenges residency of St. Petersburg candidates Rice and Mckalip



ST. PETERSBURG — The former president of the St. Petersburg Democratic Club wants two City Council candidates blocked from the Aug. 27 primary ballot.

James Donelon is accusing District 4 council candidates, Darden Rice and Dr. David McKalip, of filing a "false oath of candidate in violation of the St. Petersburg City Charter."

The city's charter requires candidates to sign an affidavit swearing they have lived in a district for 12 months before an election — in this case, the Aug. 27 primary.

Donelon filed the request Tuesday with the City Clerk, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections and the Florida Ethics Commission.

His challenge follows a story published last month in the Tampa Bay Times detailing how Rice and McKalip had rented homes in the newly redrawn district District 4, but were still living in District 3.

Donelon's request might not go far.

City Clerk Eva Andujar said her duties are "purely administrative" and that she cannot investigate residency issues. Candidates swear the information is true when signing the affidavits, she said.

"His only avenue is to go through the court system," she said Wednesday. "There's nothing I can do."

Donelon, 69, said Wednesday he will not pursue the issue in court.

But Rice, Mckalip and city officials are not following the law, he said, adding: "They should do something about this."

Residency issues surfaced because the city redistricting commission redrew council maps in March.

McKalip and Rice both criticized the redistricting process earlier this year after being drawn out of District 4 and vowed to move in order to seek office.

They both said they followed election law by "establishing a residence" in the new district, even while not living in the new residence.

When another residency issue arose Tuesday in District 2, Rice maintained she followed the law.

"The redistricting process has been a fiasco," Rice said. "It has made it difficult for aspiring candidates. I have followed the rules every step of the way."

[Last modified: Thursday, July 11, 2013 2:03pm]


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