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Appeals court reverses ruling on resign-to-run

In a strongly-worded ruling, the Third District Court of Appeal just reversed a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge's decision to disqualify Doral Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz, a Democrat, from running for the Florida House in Tuesday's primary.

"The object of the law before us is to prevent persons who are running for a new position from the safe haven of a current position to which the candidate can retreat in the event she is unsuccessful," the unanimous, three-judge panel wrote in the ruling. "That object is not being compromised in this case. The appellees urge a mechanistic application of the 'resign-to-run' law.

"Their stratagem is to accomplish an end-run around the sovereign right of the people to select their own officers. The right to vote is among the most important rights we share as Floridians and Americans."

The ruling could have ramifications for the two other local resign-to-run cases filed, against Democratic House candidate Alix Desulme and Miami-Dade County Commission hopeful Eugene Flinn, said Joe Geller, part of the team representing Ruiz, Desulme and Flinn in the separate lawsuits.

"The court has said these hypothetical, hair-splitting attempts to interfere with the rights of the voters to pick who they want are not going to be tolerated by the courts," Geller said. "All of these candidates who have faced these challenges are qualified."

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