Nina Hayden withdraws from congressional race

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Beleaguered congressional candidate Nina Hayden is set to withdraw from the race for Congressional District 13, sources close to her campaign and the Pinellas Democratic Party tell me this morning. ***Update: Creative Loafing’s Mitch Perry confirms that Hayden is dropping out.***

Hayden was forced to seek an injunction keeping her on the ballot after her qualifying papers were rejected by the Secretary of State’s office because of a missing notary signature.  On Friday, that issue appeared to become moot after her check to pay her qualifying fee was returned for insufficient funds.

Perry reports: Hayden said what prompted her to fight was the response of election officials, which she says amounted to “Oh, well, you could just sue us.”

Describing it as a Catch-22, Hayden said she wasn’t sure if she should give up or not. She decided to fight, and a week later was granted a temporary injunction by Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, who ruled that the law did not require strict compliance with all statutory requirements under all circumstances.

But fighting the issue costs money, and “those costs began to mount,” Hayden says, while adding that her attorneys were “great.” FEC regulations allow candidates fighting litigation that directly affects their campaign to use campaign contributions, so she dipped into those funds.

With Hayden withdrawing, voters will be notified that a voter for her won’t count, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in an email.

Hayden says she will now support first-time candidate Jessica Ehrlich.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.