Hillsborough judicial candidate misses ballot after paperwork is delievered to wrong building

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Every two years, as hundreds of political candidates file their qualifying paperwork with the appropriate governing body, there is at least one case of someone missing the ballot because they failed to dot all of the i’s and cross all of the t’s.

In 2010, the Florida Division of Elections did not let qualify a candidate because his check was one penny short of the required amount. In 2012, congressional candidate Nina Hayden failed to qualify because the signature of the notary who helped her complete her qualifying documents was missing from her paperwork.

This year’s bogeyman, or in this case, bogeywoman, is attorney Catherine Real. La Gaceta’s Patrick Manteiga reports that Real was prepared to run against incumbent Circuit Judge Catherine Catlin.

Real was traveling the week of qualifying and left the job of filing her qualifying paperwork to her staff. They were running late in the process and it would be close in getting the paperwork to Tallahassee on time. To qualify for a judicial race, final paperwork and the qualifying fee of $5,803.20, had to be paid on or before noon, Friday, May 2, in room 316 of the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee.

Real’s staff hired a courier service to deliver the important papers and the service arrived just before noon — but at the wrong building!

By the time the mistake was discovered and the courier found the right office, it was a few minutes past noon and too late for Real to run for judge.

So this summer, as Judge Catlin is able to enjoy her weekends and nights, she should thank a confused courier. If not for the mistake, her free time would be occupied by campaigning.

Meanwhile, Catherine Real will serve as a cautionary tale for political consultants to tell their clients.

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.