Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Appeals court affirms Dingfelder's Hillsborough County Commission candidacy

TAMPA — Former Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder is officially in the running for Hillsborough County commissioner.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal on Friday affirmed a lower court's ruling that Dingfelder could appear on the ballot. At issue was Dingfelder missing a deadline for filing paperwork indicating he would resign from the council to run for the commission.

The appeals court did not issue an opinion, meaning there is nothing more for Dingfelder's opponents to pursue with a higher court.

"Not only is it great news for me and my family and my supporters, but it's clearly great news for voters because voters deserve to have a choice in November, and they're definitely going to have one," Dingfelder said. "I still acknowledge that I made a mistake, and I've paid for the mistake. But the court clearly acknowledged that we fixed the mistake in a timely fashion, pursuant to the law."

After learning he had missed the deadline, Dingfelder resigned from the council immediately.

He withdrew from the race June 29. The next day, local Democrats voted unanimously to put him back on the ballot.

GOP activist Brian Lothrop sued, saying the missed deadline meant Dingfelder, a Democrat, should not be able to run.

The courts disagreed.

In the general election, Dingfelder will face the winner of the District 1 Republican primary that pits former state Rep. Sandy Murman against Trey Rustmann, a project manager for a personnel firm. District 1 covers Town 'N Country, South Tampa and the eastern shore of south Hillsborough County.

Former Tampa City Council member Linda Saul-Sena, a Democratic candidate for the at-large District 5 County Commission seat, made the same mistake in filing her resign-to-run paperwork. She also resigned from the council, withdrew from the race and was placed back on the ballot by the local Democratic Party.

She, too, was sued by the Republican Party, and a lower court ruled in her favor.

GOP attorney Ryan Christopher Rodems filed an appeal Friday in Saul-Sena's case. Because appellate judges did not write an opinion to explain their decision in the Dingfelder case Friday, the ruling sets no precedent.

"Without a strong guidance from the 2nd DCA in the Dingfelder case, we are left to speculate why they did what they did," Rodems said.

If Saul-Sena withstands the challenge, she will face Commissioner Ken Hagan, a Republican, and former county planner Jim Hosler, no party affiliation, in the general election.

Times staff writer Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report.

Appeals court affirms Dingfelder's Hillsborough County Commission candidacy 08/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 23, 2010 1:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Straz Center parking squeeze infuriates patrons, motivates search for solutions


    TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.

    Fireworks shoot into the sky over the David A. Straz Jr. Center For The Performing Arts. [SCOTT MCINTYRE, Times]
  2. Video shows naked man who stole swan sculpture in Lakeland, deputies say


    The Polk County Sheriff's Office is searching for a naked man who stole a large black and white swan sculpture from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend.

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says this naked man stole a large black and white swan sculpture, upper right, from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend. Surveillance video showed the man walking into Lakeland Cold Storage. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning


    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  4. Jeb money trickles into Putnam's bid for governor


    Money from a Jeb Bush super PAC has made its way into Florida’s 2018 governors race.
    A year ago, Bush’s Right to Rise PAC put $1,171 in money

  5. Men have body image issues too


    I have lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. It wasn't a problem when I was younger and working construction. An "ideal" office job 30 years ago started the yo-yo effect. I don't have any more weight to lose, but the potential of gaining it back is always there.

    Andrew Meacham, September 2005