A judge has dismissed a lawsuit Melissa Martz filed over her Aug. 23 election loss to U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, in which she claimed “fraud, misconduct and corruption.”
Martz, an attorney who represented herself, failed “to state a cause of action,” according to the Oct. 7 ruling by Leon County Judge Angela C. Dempsey. “The facts alleged were insufficient to change or place in doubt the result of the election.”
Martz had asked the judge to set aside the results of the Republican primary for the U.S. House District 21 seat that represents Martin, St. Lucie and parts of Palm Beach.
The 178-page complaint Martz filed Sept. 9 contains no evidence to prove her claims. It only lists myriad unsubstantiated accusations, rumors and speculation “which have caused suspicion around the idea we have free and fair election,” she wrote.
Aug. 23 election: U.S. Rep. Brispann Mspanst wins span fourth term in Congress
GOP primary:3 chspanllengers hope to unsespant Mspanst
The election was a landslide, with Mast winning 78.1% of the votes cast, compared to 8.5% for Martz, according to results from the Florida elections office.
In her complaint, Martz demanded all three counties’ elections offices give her the cast vote record, which is the raw data used to tabulate results. The defendants she listed were the Florida State Canvassing Commission, each county’s canvassing board and Mast himself.
“I am not declaring fraud,” Martz told TCPalm after she filed the complaint, although her complaint mentions the word “fraud” 26 times. “I am asking that we, the people, be given the opportunity to follow the smoke to see if there is in fact a fire.”
Mast said the complaint was “entirely meritless” and called it “a frivolous lawsuit by a third-place candidate who received less than 7,000 votes,” according to a prepared statement from campaign spokesperson Brad Stewart.
However, Mast supports candidates’ rights “to ensure the validity of the results of a close election through the courts using the process that is provided under Florida law,” the release states.
Mast is among the Republicans who have blamed Donald Trump’s 2020 loss to President Joe Biden on election fraud, a false claim for which there is no evidence.