Florida Candidate Drops Out Of House Race After Fake Diploma Controversy

A Republican candidate for the Florida Legislature who falsely claimed she had a college degree and posted a purported copy of her diploma online is dropping out of her race.

Melissa Howard on Tuesday told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that the right thing to do was drop out of the race for a Florida House seat.


A Republican candidate for the Florida Legislature apologized Monday for saying she had a college degree... even though she didn't.

Melissa Howard last week posted a photo of herself with what looked like a Miami University diploma after being accused of lying about her degree. 

The Ohio university later sent reporters a statement saying she attended the school, but never graduated. They also said the diploma Howard posted a picture of had inaccuracies.

Howard posted an apology on her campaign Facebook page and admitted she didn't graduate from the school.


"I made a mistake in saying that I completed my degree. What I did was wrong and set a bad example for someone seeking public service. I am staying in the race and intend to win and lead by example from now on," she said.

Even if she dropped out, it's too late to get her name off the ballot ahead of the Aug. 28 primary. Vote by mail ballots were sent out a month ago. 

In her statement, Howard said, "It was not my intent to deceive or mislead anyone." It didn't say what her intent was.


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