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Dan Raulerson

Case dismissed: Dan Raulerson to remain in House

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A Tallahassee judge has tossed out a lawsuit over the use of “Wite Out” on state Rep. Dan Raulerson‘s re-election filing paperwork.

In an order issued Wednesday, Circuit Judge Charles W. Dodson dropped the case brought by Jose N. Vazquez Figueroa, the Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Raulerson last year for the House District 58 seat.

Dodson ruled he did not have jurisdiction to decide the matter and threw out the suit “with prejudice,” meaning Vazquez can’t refile it.

Raulerson’s lawyer, Emmett Mitchell, had argued in a Tuesday court hearing that the judge couldn’t decide the case because the House of Representatives is the sole judge of its membership under the state constitution.

Dodson dismissed the case against Raulerson, a Plant City Republican, as well as the other defendants: Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer; Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s chief elections officer; and Kristi Reid Bronson, records bureau chief for the Division of Elections.

Vazquez had faulted them for allowing Raulerson to run in the first place. He said Raulerson never should have qualified because his notary had incorrectly used “correction fluid” on his filing paperwork.

The state’s notary manual says no correction fluid of any kind is allowed on notarized documents.

Vazquez had argued the notary “improperly completed” Raulerson’s paperwork by whiting out the date on her notarization of his financial disclosure, changing it from an April to a June date.

In a brief phone interview Wednesday night, Vazquez – who had represented himself – said he will appeal the decision and is considering filing a separate election fraud case against the notary.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at

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