Reggie Fullwood sues state over disqualification in HD 113 race

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Jacksonville Democratic state Rep. Reggie Fullwood is taking legal action against the state for disqualify his re-election candidacy, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.

Fullwood was running unopposed this year for House District 113 but missed the June 20 qualifying deadline due to errors by a pair of notaries public.

The Florida Division of Elections set a new qualifying period for the HD 113 seat and scheduled a special primary election in December, with a special general election in February.

Fullwood’s suit claims the new elections will cost taxpayers $225,000, unnecessary since he had “fully and substantially complied” with qualifying requirements.

“A notary forgetting to check a box on my qualifying papers is not a reasonable excuse to place this undue burden on my constituents and the taxpayers of Duval County,” Fullwood said in a statement late Tuesday after filing the lawsuit electronically. Fullwood submitted nearly all of his qualifying paperwork on June 19 — the day before the end of the qualifying period — including a check for the $1,781.82 qualifying fee.

However, the first notary made an error on Fullwood’s financial-disclosure form. The Florida Democratic Party arranged for a correction of the form by a second notary, to then be delivered to the Division of Elections office. The second clerk failed to check the required box on the form.

Attorney Neil Henrichsen, chair of the Duval County Democratic Party, is asking for a court order certifying Fullwood as the qualified candidate.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.