Democrat state House candidate exits race after fraud indictment
Sharon Lettman-Hicks is no longer seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for Florida House District 8 after she appeared in court this week and pleaded not guilty to fraud charges that stem from an alleged scheme to pocket contributions to Andrew Gillum's 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Lettman-Hicks qualified to run for office last week, and this week she was arrested on fraud charges without being made aware a federal grand jury had issued an indictment against her earlier this month, she wrote in a statement issued on Thursday.
"I find it stunning that these charges have come to light just days after I became a viable candidate, yet this is the America that so many, whom I had hoped to represent, deal with day in and day out in their communities."
Lettman-Hicks is accused of funneling thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions through her communications firm and into Gillum's personal account. She's also accused of transferring campaign dollars to her firm's account for services that weren't provided. Another scheme described in the indictment involved grant dollars that were promised to the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, a national coalition of local governments fighting state laws that preempt local governments from passing their own regulations.
Lettman-Hicks was among five Democrats running for House District 8. The candidates are vying to fill Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Ramon Alexander's vacant seat after he announced he wouldn't seek reelection.