Melissa Martz has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to set aside the results of the Aug. 23 Republicspann primspanry election she lost for the U.S. House District 21 seat.
The election was a landslide, with incumbent U.S. House Rep. Brian Mast winning 78.1% of the votes cast in Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties, compared to 8.5% for Martz, according to results from the Florida elections office.
Martz, an attorney who is representing herself, claims “fraud, misconduct and corruption” and demands the cast vote record from all three counties, which is the raw data used to tabulate election results.
The 178-page complaint contains no evidence to prove her claims. It only lists myriad unsubstantiated claims, rumors and speculation “which have caused suspicion around the idea we have free and fair election.”
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“I am not declaring fraud,” Martz told TCPalm, 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.”
The Sept. 9 complaint names Mast as well as the three counties’ elections supervisors and canvassing board members.
Martin County elections supervisor Vicki Davis declined to comment on the pending litigation, as did Wendy Sartory Link of Palm Beach County, according to spokesperson Alison Novoa. Gertrude Walker of St. Lucie County has not responded to TCPalm’s request for comment on Monday.
Mast said the complaint is “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.
Leon County Judge Angela C. Dempsey was assigned to the case.