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Appeals court keeps Clay County judicial hopeful off ballot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An appeals court Wednesday said a Clay County judicial candidate cannot be on the ballot this year because she was 12 minutes late in filing paperwork required to qualify for the race.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected arguments by Lucy Ann Hoover, who sought to run against Clay County Judge Kristina Mobley. Hoover scurried May 4 to meet a noon qualifying deadline for the race, according to the ruling.

But a required financial-disclosure document was not notarized at the county elections supervisor’s office until 12:12 p.m. -- 12 minutes late. The elections supervisor initially qualified Hoover as a candidate on the basis that she was in the supervisor’s office before the qualifying deadline, according to the appeals court. But Mobley challenged the qualification, and a circuit judge ruled Hoover should not be on the ballot. The panel of the appeals court issued an eight-page opinion upholding that decision.

“Here, there were no special circumstances that would excuse Hoover’s failure to meet the qualifying deadline, but rather … this is simply a case of a prospective candidate missing the qualifying deadline because she waited until too late to complete the necessary paperwork,” said the opinion, written by appeals-court Judge T. Kent Wetherell and joined by judges Ross Bilbrey and M. Kemmerly Thomas.

Mobley did not face other opposition in this year’s elections, according to the supervisor of elections’ website.