Kicked-off ballot, then put back on, congressional candidate Nina Hayden bounced qualifying check

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The political status of congressional candidate Nina Hayden is once again at issue after her campaign check to pay the candidate qualifying fee was returned for insufficient funds.

Accordingly, Secretary of State Ken Detzner has filed a motion to suggest “mootness” to Hayden’s original lawsuit seeking to be fully restored to the ballot after her candidate qualifying form was ruled incomplete by the state Division of Elections because the notary public who notarized it did not also affix his signature to the form.

Hayden’s attorney, Daniel Brown, sued Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Deborah Clark, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. In court papers, Brown argues that Detzner “breached (his) duty” to accept Hayden’s paperwork as complete.

Judge Terry Lewis granted Hayden a temporary injunction and said she should be put back on the August 14 ballot, where she is running against Jessica Ehrlich in the Congressional District 13 Democratic Primary race in Pinellas County.

At the time, Lewis wrote that “If conversely, I do not grant temporary injunctive relief, and later determine that Ms. Hayden’s claims are meritorious, Hayden would be deprived of appearing on the ballot, or Supervisor Clark and taxpayers would be “subjected to tremendous expense and confusion in an effort to then place Ms. Hayden on the ballot before the primary election.”

Well, all of Hayden’s efforts to remain on the ballot now seem, um, moot, after the Department of Financial Services notified the Department of State on July 2nd that Hayden’s qualifying check bounced.

Theoretically, a candidate’s check can bounce and they can still remain on the ballot, so long as the qualifying fee be paid during the qualifying period.  That deadline, unfortunately for Ms. Hayden, has passed. There is no recourse for extending this deadline.

Yet, as of this moment, Hayden is still on the ballot because Lewis’ injunction supersedes the Department of State’s authority to remove her from the ballot. “However, if the court determines that Ms. Hayden failed to qualify,” sid Chris Cate, spokesman for the Department of State, “a notice will be posted at each polling place indicating that she did not qualify and that any votes cast for her will not be counted.”

But, c’mon, Hayden couldn’t fill out her paperwork correctly, her check bounced, and the dog ate her homework. She simply does not belong on the ballot.

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.