With their novel trial balloon of a bipartisan ticket for governor, Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican David Jolly have accomplished one thing: The two former congressmen have flummoxed lawyers who specialize in navigating the arcane but vital election laws.
Ron Meyer, a Tallahassee attorney with decades of experience in election laws, usually advises Democrats.
He has not researched it, but said he knew of no legal barrier to Murphy and Jolly running as a two-party ticket for governor and lieutenant governor.
"I'm just not sure that there's anything statutorily that prohibits it," Meyer said.
To the best of Meyer's recollection, no two politicians of opposing parties have ever proposed this in Florida.
Meyer said it's possible the Republican Party of Florida could block Jolly from forming a ticket headed by a Democrat, but said that is decided by party rules. "It's a party control issue," Meyer said.
A Murphy-Jolly ticket is still largely theoretical. No decisions have been made.
Jolly told the Tampa Bay Times Friday that legal issues were explored with experts and they are comfortable with their position. Jolly said a lawsuit by an opponent would only draw more attention to the bipartisanship they say voters want.
Another election law expert, Mark Herron, said:"I don't know if there's an answer. I do not know if it's okay. I can't find anything that prohibits it. I don't have an answer."
Both parties routinely require state and local party officers to sign a loyalty oath to support only candidates of their party, except nonpartisan judicial elections.
That wouldn't appear to apply in this case, Herron said, because the alternative to Jolly is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, who also is a Republican.
Here's a twist: If Murphy were to become incapacitated or die in office, the voters who elected a Democratic governor would be left with a Republican governor. "Now that's kind of screwy," Herron said.