Crist’s decision to ditch GOP could lead to ‘sore loser’ statute

Posted: October 23, 2010 by The STR in Political NEWS & VEIWS
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Official photo of Florida Governor Charlie Crist

Image via Wikipedia

Starting next year, it could become more difficult for candidates to change or altogether drop party affiliation mid-campaign, as a report produced by the Florida Senate’s Committee on Ethics and Elections this month details the shortcomings of current law.  Citing Gov. Charlie Crist‘s defection from the Republican Party less than 24 hours before the federal deadline to qualify, the committee outlines what it describes as necessary steps to maintain the integrity of Florida’s electoral system.

“The issue is whether Florida law regarding candidates who change political parties while running for office is unambiguous and expansive enough to promote the state’s interests in political stability and maintaining integrity in the various routes to the ballot,” the report states.

One requirement would be that a candidate be registered with a given party for a minimum of one year prior to filing papers to qualify in an election, as well as instituting a “‘sore loser’ statute” that would effectively eliminate an individual’s ability to lose in a primary yet find ways to get onto the general election ballot.

There has been a spike this election cycle in independent candidates, with Crist among the most well known. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, having been defeated in the 2006 primary, famously jumped ship and eked out a victory as an independent later that year.

Following Crist’s move to independent status, he saw an immediate boost in the polls, but opened the door for a backlash from donors who felt betrayed by the last-minute switch and filed suit in a Naples court last month. While their attempt to seek class-action status was denied, state Rep. Thomas Grady, R-Naples, who brought the lawsuit on their behalf, is seeking an appeal.

20101013_legal_implications_of_candidate_party_switching_in_florida_elections

 

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