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Missing form foils candidate

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections disqualified a county commission candidate Wednesday for failing to file proper paperwork.

Jacqueline Knight, Republican candidate for District 3, did not file an affidavit seeking to qualify for the ballot through petitions, said Pam Iorio, the county's supervisor of elections.

To appear on the ballot, candidates must either pay a $4,829.40 fee or collect 1,017 petition signatures.

Knight collected the signatures, which she submitted on July 1. Although the elections office did not have a signed affidavit on file, officials reviewed her petitions and approved them.

That was a mistake, Iorio said.

"We should never have accepted them," she said.

Iorio said her staff gave Knight the affidavit but that she "might not have realized that it was a very important piece of paperwork."

Election rules require that affidavits be turned in by June 28.

Knight, the owner of Knight Owl Communications, said she signed the affidavit on May 21, the day she filed for her candidacy. Iorio disputes this.

"I don't know what happened," Knight said. "It's their mistake."

Knight, who was running against incumbent Democrat Thomas Scott, can still appear on the ballot if she pays the $4,829.40 by noon Friday.

Knight plans to pay the fee.

"Too many people want me out of this race, not to be in it," Knight said.

Scott, a pastor at the 34th Street Church of God, said he has never had difficulty understanding the election guidelines.

"When you're deciding to run as a candidate you should be aware of all the rules and laws," Scott said. "I knew that you had to sign an affidavit if you were going to submit petitions."

This type of disqualification has occurred before. Two years ago, Stacey Easterling collected the appropriate number of petitions, but officials disqualified her for not filing the affidavit. Easterling went on to pay the qualifying fee and win her race.