A Tallahassee-based Circuit Court judge ruled against former state Senator Nancy Argenziano, saying the Department of State is not violating her rights by barring her from running for Congress as a Democrat.
Argenziano was a Republican until she registered as an Independent in June, but she hoped to run for the 2nd Congressional District as a Democrat. However, laws passed in 2011 prohibit her from changing her party affiliation within 365 days of the qualifying period, which for congressional elections is June 4-8, 2012.
Circuit Judge James Shelfer said previous cases consistently upheld the constitutionality of such "dissafiliation requirements," some with loyalty periods even greater than Florida's current 1-year window. He pointed out that Argenziano still has the right to run for Congress, either as a member of the Independent Party or with no party affiliation.
"I just don't like being forced by the state to have to pick a party (and) for them to tell me which party I should be able to run in," she said.
Other candidates for the 2nd Congressional District seat are Incumbent Steve Southerland, a Republican, and Democrats Al Lawson, Leonard Bembry, Jay Liles, and Alvin Peters.