The other Republican candidate in the race for Tampa’s House District 64 has dropped out, essentially saying she doesn’t respect a process that won’t respect her.
The state Division of Elections’ website on Tuesday showed that Tampa engineer Miriam Steinberg “did not qualify” to run when the qualifying period ended at noon.
That leaves former incumbent GOP state Rep. Jamie Grant and write-in candidate Daniel Matthews to battle over the seat that represents northwest Hillsborough and eastern Pinellas.
But since Matthews isn’t actively campaigning and no write-in has ever won a legislative seat in the state, Grant is virtually assured a return to office.
On Monday, Steinberg had said she may not continue to run because of an ongoing dispute over her filing fee.
Because this is considered a new election, Steinberg had to pay another $1,781. She said she asked the state to reapply the fee she already paid; it declined.
“To date, I still have not been afforded a valid election, although I have paid my qualification fees and filed my proper paperwork,” Steinberg said Tuesday in a letter to the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.
Because of still-unresolved litigation filed by Steinberg’s husband over Matthews’ presence in the race, the House of Representatives threw out the November election results and vacated the office.
In those nonbinding results, she lost to Grant by a 19-point margin. He had held the seat since 2010.
Gov. Rick Scott had ordered a special primary for GOP-registered voters on Feb. 10 and a special general election for April 21.
With Steinberg’s departure, Grant and Matthews will face off in the April election, Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Gerri Kramer said.
In her letter, Steinberg said she believes the House and Scott “exceeded their authority.”
She said she hopes lawmakers put a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot “to exclude write-in candidates from closing an otherwise open primary, if the only candidates whose names appear on the ballot, are from the same party.”