A financial disclosure foul-up may keep a House District 24 candidate off the special election ballot.
State election officials informed Adam Thomas Morley Monday morning that his financial disclosure form was incomplete and would not be accepted.
“I’ve been better, it’s kind of frantic,” said Morley who intends to overnight a corrected and completed form from St. Augustine to the Department of State in Tallahassee before Tuesday’s noon deadline to qualify for the April special election.
“If they don’t accept it I will be flabbergasted,” said Morley. “It’s ironic in that I’m a bit of a minimalist; I don’t have that much to declare but I got everything together, I’m sending it in and I intend to be a candidate and win.”
Rep. Travis Hutson currently represents the district which takes in Flagler, and parts of St. Johns and Volusia counties. Hutson is a candidate for Senate District 6 and has submitted his resignation from the House effective April 6, the day before the special election for HD 24, 17 and SD 6.
Elections for all three seats were needed once John Thrasher resigned from the Senate to become president of Florida State University. Hutson and Rep. Ronald Renuar , who represents HD 17, quickly declared for Senate District 6. Primaries will be held in Jan. and the special election is set for April 7.
Jacksonville attorney Paul Renner and former St. Johns County Commissioner Ron Sanchez have qualified for the Republican primary to succeed Hutson.
Renner is a Navy veteran who lost by two votes an August primary for a Jacksonville-area seat. Sanchez served two terms as a county commissioner before losing a reelection bid in November. The two will face off in a Jan. 27 primary for the April special election to fill a seat being vacated by Rep. Travis Hutson, a candidate for Senate District 6.
Three other Republicans had announced they would also compete for the seat. Howard Holley, Danielle Anderson and Seamus John McNeeley have until noon Tuesday to file with the Secretary of State office in Tallahassee.
Getting the completed paperwork to Tallahassee in time is the first challenge Morley faces in his quest to capture for the Democrats a seat which favors a Republican candidate.
Morley is a 30-year old fishing boat captain and eco-tour leader who is planning to build a coalition of seniors and young voters to overwhelm his opponents with a grass roots turnout.
He qualified for the ballot by petition, spending 15 to 20 minutes with each of the 337 voters who gave him a signature.
“People are done with politics as they are being played right now, especially with the money,” said Morley, who says his “holistic” approach to campaigning and policy making is informed by his study of the Florida ecology.
“I’m not really interested in playing too much traditional politics with campaign fundraising. I would rather activate and motivate my supporters to put creative ideas into supporting me,” said Morley.
Morley was born and raised in the district. He says his life and career, he owns two businesses, volunteers in the community and is a ballroom dance instructor, has brought him into contact with a wide variety of people.
And from those encounters he intends to merge a coalition of environmentalists and small business owners with a network of seniors he met while teaching dance classes and emerge victorious in April.
“Why do you need money for a campaign,” asked Morley. “I have some stuff up my sleeve that I will be rolling out soon.”
His theory, if his overnight package arrives at the Secretary of State office by noon Tuesday, will be tested by either of the two more well-known and better financed Republican candidates who have already qualified.
Sanchez served two terms on the St. Johns County Commission before being unseated in November. And, Renner had raised more than $330,000 in a losing race for House District 15, a Jacksonville-area seat he competed for before moving to Palm Coast.
The GOP has a 40 to 33 percent edge over Democrats in voter registration in the District, which Gov. Rick Scott and Republican Presidential candidate easily won in 2014 and 2012.