City Council Candidate Field Drops to 3
Four people filed to run for a city council seat. There will still be an election, but one person won't be on the ballot.
Denise Houston’s name won’t be on the ballot during New Port Richey’s municipal elections in April, according to the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections.
Houston, a 20-year resident of New Port Richey, was one of four people who filed to run for city council in the municipal election.
On Tuesday, Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said the paperwork filed for Houston was missing notarization of her candidate oath. State law requires that candidate oaths be notarized, Corley said.
City Manager John Schneiger said Tuesday that staff would discuss Houston’s candidacy Wednesday and seek a resolution. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Corley received an an e-mail from the city indicating that three people who filed to run in the elections were qualified and Houston was not, Corley said.
There will still be Municipal elections on April 10 in New Pot Richey, Corley said. There are two city council seats open and three candidates. The two top vote-getters will each win a seat.
The candidates to be on the ballot in April are:
- Eric Rhodes, a retired professional consultant
- Judy DeBella Thomas, an incumbent councilwoman
- Bill Phillips, a former city councilmember. He held a seat from 1992-1994.
The deadline for candidates to turn in paperwork to qualify to run for election was noon on Tuesday. Houston submitted her paperwork Tuesday morning.
The New Port Richey city clerk is the qualifying officer for municipal elections. Doreen Summers has held the position since late last year, but she was in training when Houston submitted her application. Another member of city staff accepted Houston’s application, but she is not a notary.
On Thursday, the New Port Richey City Clerk issued a press release saying the ballot would include Rhodes, DeBella Thomas and Phillips.
"The fourth applicant, Denise Houston, did not meet the legal requirements to qualify by noon on Tuesday, February 21, the final day of qualification," the press release states. "After reviewing previous legal opinions, and consultations with Tallahassee election attorneys throughout Wednesday, the City’s legal counsel provided the opinion that in this instance, the qualification requirements were not met."
* Story updated at 9:25 a.m. Feb. 23 with information from a city press release.