Judge Rules Democratic Attorney General Candidate Sheldon Can Stay On Ballot

Aug 15, 2014

Democratic Attorney General Candidate George Sheldon during a June 2014 press conference regarding utility rates.
Credit Matthew Stolpe / WFSU News

A legal move to disqualify a Democratic candidate for Florida attorney general failed on Friday when a Tallahassee judge ruled that George Sheldon met the residency requirements for the race.
 
The ruling by Chief Judge Charles Francis of the 2nd Judicial Circuit means Sheldon will stay on the ballot in the August 26th primary to decide the Democratic challenger to Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi.
 
He's running against state House Minority Leader Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale.
 
The case was based on Sheldon?s having lived in Washington, D.C. from 2011 to 2013, as an official of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sheldon says he always kept his Florida homestead exemption, driver?s license, voter registration and property insurance.
 
"If every Floridian lost the right to hold statewide office on the day they accepted a call to serve their country, I think the whole state would be a loser," he said.
 
The state Constitution requires candidates for attorney general to live in the state for seven years before taking office. Thurston has said the case raises questions about Sheldon's candidacy. Sheldon briefly lost his Bar standing by not keeping up with his continuing legal education credits, but the judge said he?d quickly made up the 30 hours.