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Judge okays Hayden for House primary despite paperwork trouble

Nina Hayden's campaign for the U.S. House will go on after all.

A Leon County judge ruled her eligible for the Democratic primary a week after the state Division of Elections declared her ineligible after the notary who confirmed her signature failed to sign the paperwork. Hayden submitted her paperwork and fees on time.

On Friday, Judge Terry Lewis issued a temporary injunction that blocked election officials from leaving Hayden off the ballot. Hayden properly filled out the forms, Lewis wrote, and therefore "is entitled to have her name appear as a candidate on the ballot."

The judge will hold a hearing on the issue before the primary election. Hayden, 37, an attorney and former Pinellas County School Board member, declined to comment.

Election officials qualified Hayden's opponent, Jessica Ehrlich, 38, once a congressional aide, for the Aug. 14 primary.

The Democratic winner will battle the Republican challenger in the Nov. 6 general election. The incumbent, 81-year-old U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, will face Darren Ayres and Madeline Vance in the primary election.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

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