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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Smith v. Smithmyer match-up in Democratic leader's district could baffle some voters

Florida voters will have to read carefully this election cycle as the wiley Republicans have pulled a ballot trick that appears to be intended to create some voter confusion.

In a surprise move on Friday, Senate Republicans persuaded Christopher Smithmyer, who had intended to run as a candidate in House District 100, to switch to the seat held by none other than Chris Smith, the Democrat's choice for incoming caucus leader and a Fort Lauderdale attorney. Smithmyer is a 29-year-old attorney who lives in Davie and teaches at the online Everest University.

The district is 43 percent black and is dominated by registered Democrats. The ballot for the District 31 seat based on Broward and Palm Beach counties will now look like this: Christopher "Chris" Smith, Dem, v. Christopher "Chris" Smithmyer, Rep.

We've seen something like this before in 2006 when J.P. Planas, the third cousin of former state Rep. J.C. Planas, qualified to run in the Miami-based seat. The incumbent, J.C. Planas, sued saying that his cousin failed to file the proper paperwork and successfully knocked J.P. off the ballot.

[Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 2:26pm]


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