Fights to remain on ballot days before Primary Election.
TAMPA, Fla. – Ryan Torrens, Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General, filed an immediate notice of appeal Friday night and requested the First District Court of Appeal to halt the implementation of a lower court judge’s 11-th hour ruling.
The ruling Friday removed him from Tuesday’s Democratic primary ballot due to a contribution law technicality – a move the court undertook, disenfranchising the tens of thousands of citizens who have already voted for his campaign.
Torrens’ appeal was based on the fact, verified by credit union documents, which the court took into evidence, but ignored in its order, that the funds in question were indeed his own. They were withdrawn, by a check, from the joint account he and his wife, Francesca Yabraian, maintain and deposited in his campaign’s account. Florida law specifically allows candidates to loan unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.
“That is precisely what I did in this instance,” said Torrens.
The technicality involved was that the $4,000 check in question bore the authorized signature of Torrens’ wife, but not his – “and that’s the technicality I could have easily foreseen and fixed by just signing the check myself,” Torrens said. The ruling handed down by Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers in Tallahassee and emailed to Torrens at 4:13 PM seized upon the technicality while ignoring the evidence that the check was drawn from Torrens funds in his and his wife’s joint account.
“Today I’m kicking myself for that oversight, but that doesn’t change the essential bottom line fact that this was always my money, going to my campaign account in accordance with the law.”
“But no court should ever intervene in the exercise of our democracy, especially at the last minute. Mr. Shaw seized upon a technicality and is using it to invalidate the votes of tens of thousands of Floridians who have already cast their ballots for me, despite Mr. Shaw’s own history of campaign finance violations,” Torrens added.
“It was especially sad to see that the circuit court’s ruling was not issued on Wednesday or even Thursday,” Torrens said. “Even though the court ruling didn’t arrive until very late Friday, our legal team is working tirelessly this weekend, taking this matter to the appeals court in order to allow the voters to democratically decide who they want for attorney general.”
“Our political system has become corrupted by big corporate interests and their establishment candidates, and I am proud to be the candidate in this race with the nerve to take on those powerful interests.” said Torrens.