Explanation for Why I Suspended My Campaign in 2010

Dear friends and supporters:

I am disappointed to inform you that I am suspending my campaign for Circuit Court Judge in Group 21.  As many of you already know, the replacement judge for Group 21 will no longer be selected by election, but rather by gubernatorial appointment.  The explanation for this change is both simple and complicated.  If you are interested in the intricate details, I set them out below.  The simple explanation is that the incumbent judge in Group 21, who was scheduled to retire in January 2011, unexpectedly resigned last week.

I am grateful for the wise counsel many of you have provided me during the last five days.  Based on that counsel, and my own thoughts and principles, I have made several decisions.  First, all campaign contributions will be returned in full.  I am going to personally absorb all campaign expenses that I have incurred. 

Second, I will not run for election in any of the existing races for open seats to the Circuit Court.  Those races already have qualified attorneys who have been actively campaigning (in some cases, for even longer than I have). 

Third, I will not challenge any incumbent judges who are up for re-election.  Although I have been encouraged to run against various incumbents, I believe lawyers should have good reasons to run against an incumbent.  The mere fact I might win is not a good enough reason.  Good incumbent judges deserve our support.  I would be betraying my principles to challenge a sitting judge simply because of the likelihood of success on election night.

Fourth, I intend to apply to the Judicial Nominating Commission for appointment to the seat for which I was running, and hope my qualifications and proven commitment will weigh favorably in the minds of the JNC and – if nominated – the Governor.

I have been campaigning for over 14 months.  During that time, I have benefited immensely from the opportunity to learn what members of our community, lawyers and non-lawyers, expect from judges who daily have the privilege and burden to make decisions that affect the lives of many, many people.  Although disappointed that I will not stand for election this year, the support I have received over the past year has been humbling and energizing.  I am as committed as ever to serving my community.  I am also deeply grateful for all of the support you have shown me.  I hope I continue to earn it, and that despite my decision not to run this election, I can count on you when I decide to run again. 

I am especially grateful for the support of my family and my firm.  Rosa and our children have borne the burden of my absence due to endless campaign events – as has the firm of de la O, Marko, Magolnick & Leyton.  These contributions cannot be returned in full, I can only repay their support with love and appreciation.






On February 12, 2009, I filed to run in Group 21, a seat occupied by Judge Judith Kreeger.  Judge Kreeger was up for re-election on August 24, 2010, but because she was subject to mandatory retirement in January 2011, she would not be running for re-election and the Group 21 seat would be an open seat.  A little over a week ago, Judge Kreeger submitted a letter to Governor Crist informing him she was resigning effective June 30, 2010.  Although Judge Kreeger's effective resignation date was well after the qualifying period for the Group 21 seat (qualifying runs from April 26th to Noon on April 30th), the Florida Supreme Court has previously held that a judicial vacancy is created when a judge tenders a letter of resignation and it is accepted by the Governor (regardless of the date the resignation becomes effective).  The Court has further held that if a resignation letter is tendered and accepted before the qualifying period begins, the Governor can appoint the replacement judge.  If the letter is tendered and accepted after the qualifying period begins, then the election proceeds as scheduled.  Here, it is indisputable that Judge Kreeger tendered her resignation (and it was accepted by the Governor) before the qualifying period began on April 26th.  Thus, the Group 21 seat is not up for election until 2012.  The case is here: ADVISORY OPINION TO GOVERNOR, 928 So. 2d 1218 (Fla. 2006)