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Judicial candidate's Web site seems to claim victory prematurely

TAMPA — Attorney Lanell Williams-Yulee wants to be a county court judge.

The election is months away but, until Thursday evening, part of her campaign Web site seemed to suggest she already had won.

"We appreciate all of your thoughts, letters of encouragement and volunteer efforts to help the judge elect to take office in 2010," stated the home page.

The term "judge elect" raised some eyebrows.

Previous opinions by the state's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee use the term to refer to candidates who already have been elected and are waiting to take office.

"There might be a problem with that," said Mark Herron, a veteran elections lawyer in Tallahassee. "It misrepresents your status. You haven't been elected anything."

A St. Petersburg Times reporter called Williams-Yulee on Thursday to ask about the wording.

She refused to comment, directing questions to her campaign manager.

Soon after, the campaign manager called to say the site had been changed.

The words "Mrs. Yulee" replaced "the judge elect."

"It was just an error," Rodney Burrell said. "Just a grammatical error."

The error appeared on Williams-Yulee's revamped Web site, vote4yulee.net.

The Times reported in November that her initial site featured a letter in which the lawyer appeared to be personally seeking campaign contributions, a no-no for judicial candidates.

That letter does not appear on the new site.

Williams-Yulee is seeking the county judgeship held by Judge Dick Greco Jr.

He has not yet filed election paperwork but has indicated he intends to run.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Judicial candidate's Web site seems to claim victory prematurely 01/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:42pm]
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