TBT: Remembering the FedEx plane crash of 2002 (and how it almost ruined Qualifying Week)

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George Sheldon, candidate for Attorney General, said with some sarcasm, “Doesn’t this make you comfortable about how the next election is going to be run?”

Yes — this is a “Throwback Thursday” — and yes, George Sheldon did run for Attorney General in 2002, too.

 His quote brings us back to the qualifying deadline day for state elections on this day twelve years ago, when a FedEx plane carrying paperwork for a handful of South Florida crashed and burned in Tallahassee.

The three crew members on the Boeing 727 were all safe — but the qualifying papers met a different fate.

This incident wasn’t the first qualifying snafu that year. Just a few weeks prior, some candidates were led to pay the wrong fee amount.

And for at least one Senate candidate at that time, Carlos Lacasa, the snafus overlapped: Lacasa had FedEx’ed a $43.20 check to the elections office after discovering that the state miscalculated filing fees. It was shipped on the same FedEx plane that landed a half-mile short of the runway. Lacasa chartered a Lear jet to get the check filed before the noon deadline.

Gov. Jeb Bush extended the filing deadline but only for those candidates who could prove that their paperwork was aboard the downed plane.

And that, George Bluth would say, is why you always early worm your qualification papers.

This year’s deadline came and ended with no such drama.

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