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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Nina Hayden's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad qualifying: Part 2

First it was the lack of a signature on Nina Hayden’s qualifying papers that was going to keep her off the ballot. Now there’s a new problem: the $10,440 check that accompanied Hayden’s papers to qualify for C. W. Bill Young’s congressional seat.

It bounced.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Dentzner and Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deb Clark filed a motion in Leon County Circuit Court Friday saying because her check bounced, her lawsuit to be included on the August ballot for the Democratic primary is moot.

Hayden sued the two elections officials last month because Hayden’s candidate qualifying form was ruled incomplete by the state Division of Elections. The reason: the notary public who notarized it did not sign it.

Hayden’s attorney, Daniel C. Brown of Tallahassee, argued that Detzner “breached (his) duty” by accepting Hayden’s paperwork as complete, then rejecting it later.

At the time she submitted her paperwork, though, Hayden also turned in a check to cover her qualifying fee to battle Jessica Ehrlich to see who will take on Young, a Republican who has been in office for more than 40 years.

But on July 2, the state Department of Financial Services notified Detzner that her check had been returned by the bank for insufficient funds. State law says that the fee must be paid by the end of the qualifying period, the motion filed by Detzner and Clark points out. Because everyone just found out this week that the check bounced, it’s too late for Hayden to come up with any money to fix the problem, elections officials argued.

Neither Brown nor Hayden, a former Pinellas County school board member, could be reached for comment. Ehrlich, a lawyer who has never run for office before, qualified with no problems.

Craig Pittman, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Friday, July 6, 2012 2:03pm]


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