Nina Hayden ends congressional bid, drops lawsuit
Beleaguered Democratic candidate Nina Hayden dropped out of the race for Congress on Monday, and also said she is dropping her lawsuit against state and local elections officials.
"I'm folding up shop," she told the Tampa Bay Times. "It just became a situation where the cost for litigation became too expensive."
Hayden said she is endorsing the other Democrat in the race, political newcomer Jessica Ehrlich. They had been headed to an August primary, but now Ehrlich will face either incumbent U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young or one of his Republican challengers, Darren Ayres or Madeline Vance, in November.
Hayden, a former Pinellas County school board member, presented herself as the more experienced candidate, but her campaign stumbled right out of the starting blocks. The qualifying papers she turned in at the state Division of Elections were lacking the signature of the notary public who verified Hayden's own signature, and state officials said that meant she failed to qualify for the ballot.
"I handed in the document myself, and I asked the clerk there if it was okay, and he said, 'Yeah, it looks fine to me,' " Hayden said. But later, after qualifying ended, she said, she was notified that it was not okay after all — and when she complained, "their reaction was, 'Oh well, better luck next time.' "