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Florida Democrats call for DOJ investigation of state Senate races

Nearly a dozen Democratic members of Congress representing Florida are calling on the Justice Department to examine shadowy groups that propped up "ghost candidates" in Florida's state Senate elections, actions that may have led to several Democratic candidates losing by slim margins, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.

The lawmakers supporting the call for an investigation argue that a widespread corruption investigation is warranted after the Miami-Dade attorney's office uncovered a scheme in which a former state senator hired his friend with a similar last name to an incumbent Democratic state senator to run in the race in an attempt to siphon votes from the incumbent.

The election ended with Latinas for Trump co-founder Ileana Garcia winning by fewer than three dozen votes. Though Garcia was not implicated in the scheme personally, Democrats argue a cloud of suspicion hangs over the race as well as others in the state where candidates who did not actively campaign for office were supported by mailers advertising them as supporters of progressive policies in apparent attempts to siphon more votes from actual Democratic candidates.

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The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

Among the Florida Democrats supporting the call for investigation include Reps. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzDemocrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' MORE, Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonBiden offers traditional address in eerie setting Congressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Rep. Frederica Wilson shares her famous hat collection with Netflix MORE and Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchDemocrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Republican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel For a win on climate, let's put our best player in the game MORE, who warned that Florida voters may have been the victim of a "federal criminal conspiracy."

“Based on the suspicious practices outlined in this letter, including the likelihood of several potential illegal interstate transfers of funds, we strongly believe that much greater scrutiny of this matter at the federal level is warranted,” they wrote, according to the Miami Herald. “It is also a pressing public concern as to whether any fraud occurred in furtherance of a federal criminal conspiracy designed to influence the outcome of one or more elections.”