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Another big gun enters Miami's toughest state senate race

Former U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez will represent Frank Bolaños in a suit aiming to knock him off the ballot. The suit, filed by Sen. Alex Villalobos supporter Robert Gomez, claims Bolaños failed to obey the state law requiring him to resign his Miami-Dade school board seat 10 days before he could qualify to run for his new office.

Gomez's lawyer, Ron Meyer, said he learned from attorney Hugo Arza, the cousin of Hialeah Rep. Ralph Arza, that Jimenez would represent Bolaños. The Bolaños camp, which confirmed Jimenez's hiring, has produced FedEx tracking receipts showing he sent packages to the Miami-Dade elections office on deadline day, July 7.

Meyer said Bolaños' receipts don't show what was in the packages, while the date-stamps from the elections office show the documents were at least four days late. The Bolaños team blamed bumbling government workers for failing to stamp the documents when they arrived.

A hearing is set for next week. At issue: what does the word "submit" mean in the part of the law requiring candidates like Bolaños to "submit" their paperwork on time. Meyer said "submit" means "file," not simply place in the mail. Webster's dictionary, though, says "submit" comes from the Latin word "to send down."

Meyer said Bolaños could have avoided all the trouble if he did one thing: Walk or drive to the supervisor's office and personally submit his paperwork to make sure it was submitted on time.

The Bolaños team says Gomez is a "stooge" for the teachers union and trial lawyers that back Villalobos. But Meyer said Gomez, who won't comment, is paying him. Meyer had also been paid by pro-Villalobos Citizens for Ethical and Effective Leadership -- which has been linked to trial lawyers, Democrats and teacher unions -- and had successfully persuaded the state Supreme Court to rule against Gov. Bush's voucher programs. Meyer, incidentally, also represents incoming Senate President Ken Pruitt in a separate lawsuit concerning hardball political tactics in a Charlotte County House race.

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