Saul-Sena eligibility case begins

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Attorneys faced off Wednesday in circuit court, arguing whether Democrat Linda Saul-Sena should remain on the ballot for Hillsborough County Commission.

Ryan Rodems, representing Republican Benton Murphey, cited previous cases he said showed Saul-Sena is not an eligible candidate. AttorneyRon Meyer countered that nothing Saul-Sena has done disqualifies her from running for the District 5 seat.
Circuit Judge Herbert J. Baumann Jr. said he will make a ruling Friday.

In an almost identical case, Republicans challenged former Tampacouncilman John Dingfelder’s candidacy for county commission District 1. Dingfelder prevailed in circuit court, but Republicans have appealed.

Rodems argued that Saul-Sena never legally qualified as a candidate for county commission because she did not resign her Tampa City Counciloffice in the time prescribed by state law.

And because she never legally qualified, Rodems said, Saul-Sena’s withdrawal from the race did not create a vacancy in nomination that would allow the county Democratic Party to nominate Saul-Sena, which it did July 19.

“There was nothing for her to withdraw from because she never legally qualified,” Rodems said.

The state’s “resign to run” law says a current officeholder must resign that office before he or she can become a candidate for another office. If the candidate resigns 10 days before the qualifying period, he or she can continue to hold the seat until November.

Another way to comply with the law is for the candidate to resign, effective immediately, during qualifying. Continue reading here.

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.