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Gay state Rep. David Richardson automatically reelected after judge rules against opponent

BY KATHLEEN MCGRORY
HERALD/TIMES TALLAHASSEE BUREAU

TALLAHASSEE -- A Miami Beach publicist won’t be on the ballot in Florida House District 113, a judge ruled Friday.

Republican Laura Rivero Levey was disqualified from the race last month after a check she submitted to the Florida Department of State bounced.

SunTrust Bank accepted responsibility for the returned check, and Levey sued to have her candidacy reinstated. But on Friday, Leon County Judge Charles Francis said he could not extend the now-passed qualifying deadline to allow her to run.

State law is clear, Francis said: Candidates must pay the filing fee before the qualifying period ends.

“I find this to be a very harsh decision,” he said. “In fact, I don’t think there is anything the candidate could have done differently that would have changed what happened during the week… But I am bound by the precedent that says when the legislature speaks as to a particular item, I am not to guess at what it means.”

The ruling means incumbent Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, will be automatically re-elected.

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