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in the Nov. 7 general election, but under state law, Foley’s name cannot be removed from the ballot even though he has withdrawn.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 “He’s withdrawn — not in Congress, not a congressman any more.”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.