Call for costly re-do of Palm Beach County state Senate race now before judge

Newly elected Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, faces a legal challenge from a primary opponent.

Newly elected Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, faces a legal challenge from a primary opponent.

Prospects for a costly and confusing election re-do in a Palm Beach County state Senate district now rest with a Leon County judge following a Tuesday hearing which coincided with the Legislature’s organization session.

Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, was sworn-in as a new senator at 10:32 a.m. Just over a half-hour later across the street from the Capitol, lawyers for Powell and political opponents Ruben Anderson, a Democrat, and Ron Berman, a Republican, were battling over whether the primary and general election contests for Senate District 30 should be replayed.

Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, looking on in Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis’s courtroom, said a do-over of the two recently completed elections would likely cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

Anderson was disqualified in July after his bank did not honor his campaign’s $1,781.82 check to cover the candidate qualifying fee.

 Florida law gives a candidate until the end of the qualifying period to correct such a situation. But Anderson had no remedy because his check was returned after qualifying closed.

Anderson, though, gained new legal life when the section of state law that thwarted him was declared unconstitutional in September by the Florida Supreme Court.

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