Residents of Carrollwood, Citrus Park, Oldsmar and Safety Harbor won’t have a representative in the Florida House — for now, at least. State lawmakers voted Tuesday to throw out the results of the House District 64 election, creating a vacancy in that district. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to call a special election. State Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, had already raised questions about the integrity of the Nov. 4 contest, which he won comfortably. Earlier this month, he pointed out that an appellate judge deemed the election unconstitutional. “You can’t send a candidate to Tallahassee to office on the back of an election that was deemed unconstitutional,” he told the Herald/Times.
The race became mired in a legal challenge when Michael Steinberg — the husband of Republican candidate Miriam Steinberg — filed a lawsuit alleging write-in candidate Daniel John Matthews did not live in the district. State law requires write-in candidates to live in their districts at the time of qualifying.
A circuit court judge in Leon County withdrew Matthews from the election, and scheduled an open primary between Steinberg and Grant on Nov. 4. But an appellate court reversed the decision, saying the residency requirement for write-in candidates violates the state constitution.