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Republican James Judge restored to ballot in Florida Congressional race

His name had been taken off after a question about paperwork.

TAMPA, Fla. — A court has ordered Florida to restore Congressional candidate James Judge to the ballot after the Republican filed a lawsuit, saying he was wrongfully disqualified from the primary.

At issue was whether he signed the proper paperwork for his candidate oath for Florida’s 14th Congressional district.

Judge, a Tampa Bay area native who owns a public relations and marketing agency, announced Wednesday that Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey had issued an injunction, putting his name back on the ballot.

"Judge Dempsey ruled that since the state’s qualification paperwork was so ambiguous, Judge must be placed back on the ballot because he met the requirements," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

In a press release, the campaign said the last-minute injunction was critical for Judge because the deadline for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to begin printing their ballots was Wednesday.

As Judge's team argued before the court, the Florida Division of Elections and Secretary of State initially approved his candidacy paperwork more than 48 hours before the June 15 filing deadline. The campaign said the state later told them a government worker had made a mistake in accepting Judge's candidate oath form – indicating the Republican should have filed a federal form instead of a state form.

"However, according to Florida law, the state is required to review the paperwork and notify candidates if anything on the paperwork is not properly filled out before the filing deadline, and they made no such effort," Judge's campaign said. "Instead of recognizing the difference between the two forms, the state acknowledged that Judge had properly completed his paperwork and qualified him to be on the ballot for the August primary."

So, what are the forms? As Judge's team pointed out, the difference between the state and federal forms is that on the state ones, a candidate also swears to uphold Florida's constitution – in addition to the U.S. one.

"Additionally, it’s also important to note that the 2022 Florida Candidate Handbook had broken web links to the federal candidate qualification forms, and they still remain broken as of the writing of this press release," a spokesperson for Judge added.

In a statement, Judge said his faith in the judicial system had been "renewed" following the ruling.

“I’d like to thank Judge Dempsey for her diligence and attention to this issue, along with my legal team who ensured that my wrongful and temporary disqualification was resolved quickly and efficiently," Judge said.

If Judge wins the primary, he hopes to unseat Democratic incumbent and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.

RELATED: Tampa businessman James Judge to challenge Kathy Castor in congressional race

RELATED: What you need to know: A voter's guide to the Florida primary

RELATED: Former gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum indicted on federal charges

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