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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New election law means former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano can't run as a Dem in 2012



Former Republican state Sen. Nancy Argenziano announced this week she plans to run for Congress as a Democrat in 2012. But under the state's new elections law, she can't.

A provision prohibits candidates from running as a member of a political party if they were registered for any other party 365 days before the qualifying period for a general election. Qualifying for 2012 congressional elections starts June 4, 2012. Argenziano changed her voter registration May 31, meeting the one-year window. But she registered as a member of the Independent Party.

That precludes her from running as a Democrat, said Ron Labasky, attorney for the Supervisors of Elections Association. "If that's the way they've got her registered, as being a member of a recognized party, I think it would be an issue of changing from the Independent Party to the Democratic Party," he said. "The provision says you can't do that without a 365-day window."

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who sponsored the bill in the House, said the provision was targeted at former Gov. Charlie Crist, who dropped out of the Republican Party to run with no party affiliation for the U.S. Senate in 2010, and candidates who ran in 2010 under the tea party banner without backing from the grass-roots movement.

"These party labels are there so the public knows what ideals you identify with," Baxley said. "The intent of the bill is to avoid people using one brand and then building up a lot of support based on that brand and then switching it to some other purpose."

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 5:03pm]


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