In 2010, a new party called the Tea Party qualified for the Florida ballot. Many of the Tea Party nominees had their ballot positions challenged in lawsuits filed by various Republicans. For a summary of these lawsuits, see this web page of “Central Florida Republicans.” Most of these lawsuits have been dismissed. On February 1, the lawsuit Hensarling v Foley, which had been pending in state Circuit Court in the Orange-Osceola district, was dismissed before the plaintiffs were able to engage in discovery. See this story. The defendant, Jon Foley, had appeared on the November 2, 2010 ballot as the Tea Party nominee for State House, 41st district.
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For Immediate Release
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Contact: Peg Dunmire
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Republican Party of Florida Lawsuit against TEA Dismissed-TEA Wins 5th Lawsuit in a Row.
Tea Party to seek tens of thousands in attorneys’ fees
(Orlando) Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge Stan Strickland today handed the Republican Party of Florida it’s 5th legal defeat in a row by dismissing one of over a dozen lawsuits filed by the Republican Party in the waning days of last year’s general election.
The Don Henserling vs. Jon Foley lawsuit was filed by attorney’s for the Republican Party to seek a “pure bill of discovery” that would have allowed GOP attorneys’ to conduct what Judge Strickland called a “fishing expedition” by the GOP.
RPOF participated in filling over a dozen lawsuits last year challenging the ballot placement of TEA party nominees on Florida’s general election ballot. Two of the cases were previously dismissed by two Leon County Circuit Judges with two more dismissed, one in Federal Court against the TEA Party political party.
“This is a huge victory for the TEA Party and our candidates,” stated Peg Dunmire, 64, Chairman of the TEA Party (TEA-Florida). “To have to take on the Republican Party of Florida and the Democrats was quite a challenge, one that we met and emerged victorious,” Dunmire concluded.
21 TEA Party nominees collectively received in excess of 300,000 votes in the last election, a feat never accomplished before for a new state party. By comparison, the 32 – year old Libertarian Party – third largest in the nation – gained 24,000 votes for it’s statewide US Senate candidate while the TEA Party nominee for Agriculture Commissioner gained over 200,000 votes.
The TEA Party was represented by TEA Party Founder and former Chairman, Orlando-based attorney Fred O’Neal in all the cases.
The Republican Party of Florida was represented by Tallahassee-based attorney Harry O. Thomas, Senior Partner of the prominent law firm of Radey Thomas Yon & Clark, P.A.
According to sources within the Republican Party of Florida, the RPOF has budgeted over $500,000 to initiate lawsuits against the TEA Party and they may need it just to pay legal fees of the TEA Party attorneys.
This victory allows the TEA Party to seek attorneys’ fees that could total nearly $20,000.
A motion will be filed this week for fees by the TEA Party.