Mark Rossi, who was considered one of the frontrunners for mayor of Key West, announced he would not be included on this year’s ballot after missing a June 22 filing deadline.
The confusion arose this past Friday at Hometown’s political forum, when the news broke that Rossi’s camp failed to include payment with their filed paperwork for candidacy. After several rumors swirled on who was at fault, the smoke finally cleared this past Wednesday with a statement from Rossi.
“We respect the Supervisor of Elections’ decision to not be on the ballot,” said Rossi. “And I am extremely sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.” Rossi went on to say that all campaign contributions would be returned.
“It’s an unfortunate mistake,” said Supervisor of Elections, Joyce Griffin. “But we had to follow the law in this case.”
Griffin said her office did change Rossi’s status from “filed” to “qualified” on the Supervisor of Elections website, but later informed Rossi’s camp about the missing payment once it was discovered. In fact, Griffin said her office informed Rossi’s camp four days before the cutoff date of June 22.
“He was told we needed the check last Monday,” said Griffin. “At this point we’ve consulted with the county attorney and Judge Tim Koenig and there really is no gray area for our decision.”
Griffin said her team and Koenig reviewed several instances of non-payment in similar cases, but in those cases the fault either fell on a bank or other indirect parties — and not on the candidate.
Although close to a dozen candidates have filed to run in the mayor’s race, Rossi was considered as a potential frontrunner, alongside several others, including Danny Hughes who recently withdrew his candidacy due to a back injury.