Haines City Election - Claude Holmes and Roy Tyler

Claude E. Holmes II, left, and H.L. "Roy" Tyler

HAINES CITY – During a telephonic court hearing on June 25, Tenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steven Selph set a final hearing to rule on the contested Haines City municipal election.

Interested members of the public can listen to the telephonic court hearing on July 10 starting at 2 p.m. Details of the call will be posted on the court website sometime prior to the hearing.

On April 7, longtime Haines City Commissioner H.L. “Roy” Tyler lost Seat Four on the Haines City Commission to newcomer Claude E. Holmes II by a margin of 1,188 votes to 887 votes.

Later, on April 20, former Haines City Commissioner Don Mason paid a lawyer to file civil litigation against Holmes, alleging that Holmes was ineligible to hold office because he is a convicted felon who never fully paid restitution.

Mason petitioned the court to appoint Tyler as the winner of the April 7 municipal election by default. The court case has been ongoing since.

Holmes settled on May 12, agreeing that he is ineligible to hold office.

The Haines City Commission voted on May 21 to request that Judge Selph call for a special election. Since then, around 150-200 Haines City residents have signed a petition calling for a special election.

“We are requesting a special election since the chosen candidate will not be able to occupy the seat,” the petition read. “The results of the election clearly showed that the majority of the voters desired a change. Without this election, we feel that our voices have been rendered meaningless and may well discourage future voting efforts. Please listen to the voters.”

On July 10, Judge Selph is expected to rule in one of two ways – to either appoint Tyler as winner of the election by default, or to call for a special election.