CD 3: Steve Oelrich qualifies, but not by petitions

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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.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.