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Matt Caldwell Files Suit Against Broward SOE

Mark Foley
Florida House of Representatives
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services candidate and State Rep. Matt Caldwell

The Republican contender for the role of state commissioner of agriculture joined the growing list of candidates filing lawsuits Friday afternoon.


Gov. Rick Scott announced his U.S. Senate campaign's intent to sue the elections supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach counties Thursday night. By Friday morning, rival candidate Sen. Bill Nelson was suing the Florida Secretary of State in hopes to extend Saturday's deadline for unofficial vote counts.

And, by the afternoon, Republican Matt Caldwell followed the governor's lead, filing a suit against Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

The suit, filed in the 17th judicial circuit, asks the court to determine if Snipes illegally included ballots after polls closed on Election Day, and if so, to "remove those votes from the electoral tabulation."

The state representative called the race in his favor at 10 p.m. Election Night, when he had a 0.5 percent lead over Democrat Nikki Fried. But, by the time of his suit filing Friday afternoon, the election had flipped, with Caldwell trailing Fried by 0.04 percent of the vote.

The statement announcing the suit from Caldwell's campaign mirrored some of the governor's language about voter fraud the night before.

Caldwell campaign spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez said in a statement, "We want to ensure every legal vote is counted and that we have a forensic reconstruction of when ballots were cast and how." 

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
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