Thursday, September 8, 2022

Lawsuit Filed Alleging Democrat Susan Valdes Did Not Properly Qualify to Run for House District 64 Race

Susan Valdes
(image courtesy of Florida Politics)

A lawsuit was filed August 16, 2022 alleging Democrat Susan Valdes did not properly qualify to run for House District 64. The legal Complaint was filed by Maura Cruz Lanz, the Republican candidate for House District 64. 

The lawsuit, case #CA-22-006911 which can be found on the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court website, is seeking:
a declaration that Defendant Susan Valdes failed to properly qualify as a Democratic candidate for nomination and election as a member of the Florida House of Representatives District 64, requiring Defendants Cord Byrd and the Department of State, Division of Elections to decertify Valdes as a Democratic candidate for nomination and election in Florida House of Representatives District 64, and since there is no other candidate for that office besides Plaintiff Maura Cruz Lanz, naming Maura Cruz Lanz the winner and canceling the election, or alternatively requiring Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections to not print ballots with Susan Valdes name as a candidate, to not dispatch vote by mail ballots with Susan Valdes' name on them, and to not tabulate or count any votes for Susan Valdes in the District 64 race.

According to the Complaint, Susan Valdes did not include her Voter Registration number or the Phonetic spelling of her name for the audio ballots.

Democrat HD64 candidate Susan Valdes 
Incomplete Candidate Oath

By not providing her Voter Registration number, the lawsuit claims there was no verification of Susan Valdes voter registration or proof she is an elector. The lawsuit also alleges that per Florida Statute, Notaries may not notarize a signature if the document is "incomplete or blank".

Lanz is seeking an emergency hearing for a judgment that Susan Valdes failed to qualify as a candidate in the manner required by Florida Statutes and is therefore ineligible to run in the 2022 elections.

If Valdes is ruled unqualified to run as a candidate in HD 64, Lanz will win that seat as there is no other challenger in the race.

Apparently Valdes has prior candidate filing issues. In a 2018 Florida Politics article titled Emails Show Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Bent Rules for Susan Valdes failed to meet the deadline to get her resignation letter [from her School Board seat) to the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office to meet the "resign to run law" to run for HD 62.

The Florida Politics article reported emails reflected there was an "understanding" within Craig Latimer's SOE office that the resign-to-run deadline was 5 p.m. Friday, but that those rules were bent to accommodate Valdes:
Peg Reese, chief of staff at the supervisor’s office, sent the following email to Farris, Latimer and Kramer at 7:52 p.m.: “Ms. Valdez did not [emphasis hers] deliver a Resign to Run letter to the Supervisor of Elections office by the close of business today. At approximately 7:30 PM this evening, Craig received via email a Resign-to-Run letter from Vic DiMaio, campaign aide to Susan Valdez. According to Valdez and DiMaio, both of whom spoke with Craig this evening, DiMaio was supposed [emphasis mine] to deliver the letter to the Supervisor of Election by the close of business today (5:00 PM) …”
Emails obtained in 2018 by Valdes Democrat opponent Mike Alvarez reflected Latimer and Valdes spoke that evening. Then DeMaio (Valdes campaign manager) dropped off Valdes' Resign to Run letter at Latimer's house at 10:34PM that night - way past the 5pm deadline.

On the last day to qualify, Hillsborough SOE's Communications Director Geri Kramer fired off some emails to reporters as soon as the clock struck 5pm. She informed them the SOE's office had not received a Resign to Run from Republican County Commissioner Sandy Murman, who some had speculated was going to run for the then HD62 seat.

So why did Latimer (who took $2.9 MILLION of ZuckBucks in 2020) bend the rules for Democrat Valdes in 2018? It appears Latimer's SOE office would not have bent them for Murman. 

The latest action on Lanz's lawsuit was taken on August 26, 2022 when Defendant Susan Valdes filed a "Motion to Dismiss". We will watch as the case proceeds

However, Valdes has a problem following the rules. Should she be in a position where she is making the rules?

1 comment:

  1. I am a democrat that is interested in fair elections. Ms Valdes had more than ample time to fulfill the requirements to run for office. The fact that she waited to the very end is not the fault of anyone but herself. We have rules and laws in this country that need to be followed, equally, on both sides of the isle. If you bend the rules for one you open the door for bending the rules for all. Why bother having rules or laws if they are going to be bent. Sorry about your luck Ms. Valdes but I am more interested in people elected doing their jobs. If you cant even follow the rules to get elected, what chance do we have of you doing your job the way you are supposed to?