State Sen. Steve Oelrich notified the Division of Elections that he intended to qualify for a run in the new 3rd Congressional District by turning in the required 2,300 or so signatures, but went ahead and paid the fee to qualify on Thursday. The division lists him as qualified, but notes that he’s only turned in 132 signatures, far short of the 2,298 required.
U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, an Ocala Republican also in the race for the seat, quickly made a campaign issue of it – particularly noting that 104 of the 132 verified signatures Oelrich has turned in came from Leon County – Tallahassee. “Embarrassingly, he collected no signatures in his long-time home county of Alachua, and only collected 19 petitions in the new District 3 in which he is running,” Stearns said in a press release. “Almost 80 percent of the petitions he managed to collect came from Tallahassee where he held a fundraiser while the state Senate was in session.” Documents on file with the state show Oelrich’s campaign treasurer wrote a $10,440 check dated Thursday for his qualifying fee.