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Runnerup's request for new Orlando mayoral vote denied

Associated Press
Published March 25, 2005

ORLANDO - A circuit judge on Thursday denied the request of the runnerup in last year's Orlando mayoral race for a new election.

Judge Theotis Bronson ruled there was no evidence of pervasive irregularities involving absentee ballots alleged to have been illegally collected for suspended Mayor Buddy Dyer.

"The mayor is very happy about this," said Dyer's attorney, Darryl Bloodworth. "It's clear the court found there was no fraud."

Challenger Ken Mulvaney had said more than 4,000 absentee ballots cast in the March 9, 2004 election should be thrown out because the process was flawed by the 364 absentee ballots collected by campaign consultant Ezzie Thomas.

Meanwhile, Dyer remains out of office because of a separate criminal investigation.

Dyer, Thomas, Dyer's campaign manager and a judge who used Thomas for his own campaign were indicted two weeks ago on charges of violating a 1998 state law prohibiting payment for the collection of absentee ballots.

A special election is scheduled for May 3. City Council member Ernest Page is serving as mayor until then.

Dyer could return to his $144,349-a-year job if he successfully fights the indictment.

"Certainly, (Bronson's ruling) is helpful to Mayor Dyer," Bloodworth said.

[Last modified March 25, 2005, 01:00:17]

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