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2 Tampa Bay candidates file suit, seeking ballot access

Two Democratic candidates for office in Pinellas County whose paperwork was rejected by state elections officials have gone to court, seeking to get on the ballot.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis in Tallahassee on Thursday heard oral arguments on an injunction sought by Nina Hayden of St. Petersburg, who has filed for the 13th Congressional District seat held by Republican C.W. Bill Young. Another Democrat, Jessica Ehrlich, did qualify to run against the venerable Young.

Hayden's candidate qualifying form was ruled incomplete by the state Division of Elections because the notary public who notarized it did not also affix his signature to the form. Her attorney, Daniel Brown, sued Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Deborah Clark, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. In court papers, Brown argues that Detzner "breached (his) duty" to accept Hayden's paperwork as complete.

The second lawsuit involves Mark Robert Moon of St. Petersburg, a Democratic candidate for state Senate District 22, whose paperwork was rejected for this reason: On a form designating himself as his campaign's deputy treasurer, Moon signed his name once, but the form requires two signatures. Moon's lawsuit called that an "oversight" and argues that he "has complied and/or substantially complied with all the requirements of law to qualify as a Democratic candidate for nomination." Moon is represented by attorney Mark Herron.

Moon is seeking to run as a Democrat in a South Pinellas and South Tampa district that is competitive for candidates in both parties. The Republican candidates for the seat are Reps. Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe.      

-- Steve Bousquet