Jose Mallea, a Republican running for state House in Miami-Dade County, is attempting to force his opponent to withdraw from the race for House District 116.
In a lawsuit filed Friday against fellow Republican Daniel Perez, Mallea requests that a Leon County Circuit Court rule Perez ineligible to run, citing a Miami Herald article that found Perez does not currently live at the address he listed when running for office.
The Kendall home where Perez receives his mail, is registered to vote and claims homestead exemption is under major construction, and it will be for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, Perez said he is living with his father elsewhere in the district, although he has not disclosed that address to the Miami Herald.
The Florida Constitution requires legislators to live in the district they represent by Election Day. For Perez, that’d be Sept. 26, if he defeats Mallea in a July 25 primary. Perez has said he does not know if construction will be completed by Sept. 26.
If Perez lives with his father in the district, he would not be in violation even if he doesn’t live at his listed address.
But Mallea’s lawsuit claims that Perez should be forced to withdraw his candidacy because the sworn statement to the state’s Division of Elections that he lives at his home is now false, which would be in violation of Florida statute.
“Daniel Perez’s relationship with the truth is estranged at best,” Mallea said in a statement. “To knowingly identify an uninhabitable building with no roof as his address is the latest in his pattern of lies.”
Perez could not be immediately reached for comment.
Mallea has also been accused of not living in the district, although he says he has moved into a rented apartment unit in Doral. He provided the Miami Herald copies of his Florida Power and Light bill and his updated voter registration.