Jim Norman back in the saddle again

Apparently this leaves Rob Wallace out in the cold, but the Florida Republican Party establishment has to be thrilled.  They poured more resources over to Norman to defend himself in court than they have given to any other Republican running for a legislative seat this fall.

Whether Norman can get his credibility back after failing to disclose the $500,000 gift given to the Norman family by the late Hillsborough County power broker Ralph Hughes is something else entirely.

Rebuking a lower court's ruling that tossed Jim Norman off the ballot, the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee today reversed that decision, one again putting Norman on the ballot as the Republican candidate in the Senate District 12 race against two write-in candidates, meaning that if voters choose Norman on the ballot, they will get him, and not former state legislator Rob Wallace, named on Saturday by the Hillsborough and Pasco GOP as the candidate to replace Norman.

Confused?  You ain't the only one.  From Marlene Sokol's article in the Times:

The appellate justices agreed with Norman's attorneys that Ambler waited too long to bring his challenge, that it should have been a matter for the state Commission on Ethics, and that taking Norman off the ballot would be unfair to the thousands who voted for him.

"Courts must take care in post-election challenges to avoid disenfranchising voters without clear statutory warrant," Judge Robert T. Benton II wrote.

With two other justices concurring, Benton also wrote that, under the Florida constitution, Norman was qualified to run because he lives in both the state and the district, has never been convicted of a felony and has not served previously as state Senator.

Ambler said previously that he will appeal to the state Supreme Court.


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