MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade’s mayoral race has just heated up – with a lawsuit.READ MORE: 120 Opa-locka Residents Return Home After Gas Explosion At Apartment Complex
School Board Member Raquel Regalado filed a lawsuit against her opponent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Christina White.
The lawsuit – filed Thursday – seeks to disqualify Gimenez and void any votes for him in the November 8th election.
“We want to make sure this election is not tainted,” said Regalado.
The complaint states that during the qualifying period, Miami-Dade County Elections Department got a qualifying check from Gimenez on June 10, 2015, from his campaign account. Since the check was dated a year prior, it was reportedly rejected by the bank.
The lawsuit claims Gimenez later submitted a second campaign check on June 20, 2016 – the day before the qualifying deadline.
Regalado is claiming that by doing this, he violated a Florida Statute that states if a candidate’s check is returned by the bank, that candidate has to pay the qualifying fee with a cashier’s check, not a campaign check. Any candidate who fails to do this, according to the statute, will be disqualified.
“There’s nothing petty about the statute. Florida law is very clear about how to qualify and there’s a reason for that and I think it’s sad that we live in a society where people think compliance with the law is not important,” said Regalado.READ MORE: Police Investigate Double Shooting In NW Miami-Dade
The Gimenez camp said the check never made it past the elections office, that someone caught it and alerted them.
The Supervisor’s of Elections put out a statement backing that up saying, “At no time did the department submit the original check to the bank nor was a qualifying check for Carlos Gimenez ever declined by a bank for any reason.”
Despite that, the lawsuit claims that because he did not comply with the statute, he should be disqualified as a candidate for the 2016 Miami-Dade mayoral election.
Gimenez’s camp calls this a “Hail Mary Pass” because Regalado is behind by 22 points according to a recent Bendixen Amandi poll for Univision and WLRN.
“I think desperate times for call desperate measures,” said Gimenez.
Election law expert Ben Kuehne said even if the check was returned from a bank, and not paid with a cashier’s check, it’s highly unlikely a judge boot him from the ballot.
“I don’t believe that the judge is going to disqualify Gimenez based on this where the funds, in fact, were paid during the qualifying time,” said Kuehne.
Click here to read more about Campaign 2016.MORE NEWS: CDC Issues New Covid-19 Guidance For The Holiday Season