GOP candidate accused of faking college diploma from Ohio drops out

State News

SARASOTA, FL (AP) — 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.

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 and the diploma Howard posted has inaccuracies.

“We have no such record of a degree,” the university’s lawyer, Robin Parker, said in an email to the paper.

Howard’s diploma says she graduated with a degree in marketing — Parker says the university has never offered such a degree and that Howard’s major was retail. Also, Parker said while the university president’s signature is correct, another administrator’s signature would not have appeared on the diploma.

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

Her opponent, Tommy Gregory, said in a text to the paper, “voters deserve nothing less than truth and integrity from their elected officials. Unfortunately, it seems that Melissa Howard has failed that test.”

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