When the Florida House of Representatives welcomed new and returning members today, one recently elected person was there only in spirit. That’s because a court ruling requires a do-over in his district election.
Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa) handily won reelection last month with almost 60 percent support from District 64 voters. Early Tuesday, the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission certified all state returns, including Grant’s. But later on the House floor, Rep. Richard Corcoran (R- Land 'O Lakes) called for a vote to block Grant from taking office.
“The House finds itself in an unusual position in that we have received qualified election results from the executive branch, and at the same time the judicial branch has held that a qualified write-in candidate was denied access to the ballot," Corcoran said.
Last month, an appeals court sided with Daniel Matthews, who had attempted to qualify as a write-in candidate but was originally barred for not living in the district at the time of qualifying.
Corcoran said the House has sole constitutional authority to determine the eligibility of its members. The vote leaves a vacancy that must be filled by special election.