Hardee County ballot blunder could impact statewide races
A series of election complications, outright errors and now multiple ballots in the field has created chaos in the House District 56 contest.
Worse, it remains possible controversy could spread should any statewide races end with results close enough for Hardee County voters to swing the outcome..
“I’ve been in politics close to 30 years, and I’ve never seen a snafu like this,” said Jeff Mann, one of two Republicans running in the race.
Mann faces Republican Melony Bell in the race to succeed state Rep. Ben Albritton. The Republicans face off in a universal primary scheduled for Nov. 6, and yes, that’s abnormal in itself.
The first Democratic complication arrived when write-in candidate David Joseph Patzer filed as a write-in candidate. With only Republicans filed, this closed what would have been an open primary in August to determine a new representative.
But write-ins closing election are nothing new to Florida politics. Things turned messy, though, after Patzer abruptly dropped out in July. Patzer’s wife later told The Ledger he’d been pressured by Mann, whom he considered a father figure, to file.
Mann disputes this, but acknowledges his son and