Negron Named Foley Substitute; Must Run as Foley

Florida state representative Joe Negron has been named to replace Mark Foley in the race for Congress–but not to replace him on the ballot.

The candidate chosen to replace former Rep. Mark Foley on the November ballot faces the awkward task of persuading voters to elect him by casting a vote for the disgraced former congressman. Foley had held his seat in Florida’s largely Republican 16th district for the past dozen years and was seeking re-election until his sudden resignation over lurid online communications with teenage congressional pages.

Florida’s Republican Party leaders selected state Rep. Joe Negron on Monday to replace Foley as their candidate in the Nov. 7 general election, but under state law, Foley’s name cannot be removed from the ballot even though he has withdrawn. Negron will receive votes cast for Foley.

“Obviously I’d rather have my name on the ballot, but Mark Foley, that name is a placeholder — that’s it,” he said. “He’s withdrawn — not in Congress, not a congressman any more.”

One prominent Florida Republican said he doubts that any GOP candidate can capture the seat with Foley’s name on the ballot. “The only way you win is they (voters) have got to vote for Mark Foley. That doesn’t appear to me to be very attractive,” said Tom Slade, former state Republican Party chairman.

It’s quite a bizarre circumstance, really.

FILED UNDER: 2006 Election, Congress, , ,
James Joyner
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  1. Anderson says:

    Oh look! A Florida election law unfavorable to the Republicans! Get the U.S. Supreme Court to strike it down!

  2. James Joyner says:

    Well, actually, Florida election law (and federal election law, for that matter) was favorable to the Republicans in 2000 until the FLSC inserted themselves into the process. The black letter law made it quite clear under what circumstances a recount should take place and what the deadline was.

  3. An interesting poll on the subject via crosstabs

    Bottom line is with just the names, the dem is up 10 points among likely voters. But if you first explain that no matter the name, someone other than (not named, just generic republican), the vote tightens to a 1 point dem lead among registered voters.

    I keep thinking of the lake placid hockey announcer “Do you believe in miracles” when I think about FL-16 and TX-22. These should be dead to rights dem seats because of unusual circumstances, but there is still a chance the GOP can pull them out.

  4. John Burgess says:

    The FL Republican Party is pretty generous in sending out elections materials. They could very well paper the district explaining the quirk of FL law the prohibits a name substitution and hold most of the Rep. voters. This, of course, assumes that the majority of Rep. voters in FL-16 read the materials.

    I’m in FL-13, so who knows?

  5. Bithead says:

    I suspect we’re expectinga bit much of the voters in that district.

    Let’s remember, these are the same ones who couldn’t handle the chads…

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Oh look! A Florida election law unfavorable to the Republicans! Get the U.S. Supreme Court to strike it down!

    Or change the venue to New Jersey!


  7. Anderson says:

    OTOH, in central FL, “Foley” may do better than “Negron,” particularly if voters misread the ballot the way I first misread the post title.