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How can Mitch Kates not be blamed for another paperwork screw-up by one of his candidates

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

***Updated***”Everyone knows in this state we have a resign-to-run law,” said Scott Paine, a political science professor at the University of Tampa. “They really should have caught this.”

***Updated***Linda Saul-Sena’s resignation letter here.

Forced to resign her city council seat in haste this morning after failing to submit on time her resign-to-run paperwork, Hillsborough County Commission candidate Linda Saul-Sena find her entire campaign in jeopardy because of sloppy paperwork.

Failing to dot the i’s correctly may end up costing Saul-Sena not just her city council seat, but her place on the November ballot.

Deborah Cox-Roush, chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Republican Party, said she is looking into whether Saul-Sena can run at all.

“We are questioning the filing and I’m talking to our attorneys,” Cox-Roush said.

Even if Saul-Sena is allowed to remain on the ballot, her inability to accomplish the most basic of campaign tasks now calls into question her ability to govern, at least that’s how it will look to many voters after article after article is written about this incident.

What is worse, she now leaves her city council constituents without a voice on that body.

All because she couldn’t dot the i’s at the appropriate time.

Who deserves the blame for Saul-Sena’s roogoodoo?  Certainly the candidate.  This isn’t Saul-Sena’s first time around the block and so she will have to accept the majority of the blame for not being able to chew gum and walk at the same time.

But you know who else shares part of the blame?  Saul-Sena’s campaign manager, Mitch Kates.  Now, it almost goes without saying that I am no fan of Kates, but that doesn’t exscuse the fact that this is the second time in a year that Kates’ fumbling will end up costing his candidate.

Remember that it was Kates who was advising St. Petersburg Mayoral Candidate Scott Wagman last year when Wagman decided to upend his campaign and fight a ruling from the Florida Election Commission regarding Wagman’s advertising on several social networks.  Wagman’s decision to fight the ruling, a decision voraciously defended by Kates, was the turning point in Wagman’s campaign.

Fast-forward a year, and while fighting the FEC ruling and not filing resign-to-run paperwork on time may seem like apples and oranges, it really isn’t.  It’s characteristic of a disdain Kates’ candidates seem to hold for following the rules.

Because, for the life of me, I can’t understand why Saul-Sena didn’t just file her resign-to-run paperwork on time.  Either she is just forgetful — and that’s just the kind of quality we need in a county commissioner — or something malevolent was at work in her failure to follow the rules.

The problem is, with many of Kates’ candidates, voters are left to wonder.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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