“Ghost” candidates? We call bullsugar!

It’s election time, and you know what that means: Lots of bullsugar going on.

Specifically, we’re getting reports of potential “ghost candidates” popping up around the region, including in Martin County, where long-time commissioner Doug Smith will benefit from a write-in candidate who filed to run in District 1, closing the August GOP primary to Democratic and Independent voters.

That likely hurts Eileen Vargas, a Republican running against Smith who has made stopping out-of-control development one of her key issues. With write-in candidate Kenneth J. DeAngeles qualifying, only GOP voters can cast their ballot, effectively disenfranchising more than 52,000 Dems and Independents.

Smith is an old hand at this sort of thing, as detailed in this TCPalm story. Yet for some sorry reason, this remains legal in Florida — and many take advantage of it.

Elsewhere, down in Miami-Dade, the Miami New Times reports that a mysterious new candidate with a mysteriously familiar name just joined the Florida House of Representatives District 106 race against incumbent State Rep. Fabián Basabe.

In August, Republican Basabe will square off against challenger Melinda Almonte; the winner will then face former Florida Democratic state Rep. Joe Saunders in November.

But ALSO on the November ballot will be Maureen Saunders Scott, who filed to enter the race as an NPA (No Party Affiliation) candidate. Not only that, she will appear on the ballot as “Moe Saunders.”

Right next to “Joe Saunders.”

Think that might confuse voters? And do you think that might be by design?

Meanwhile, in Brevard County, two write-in candidates materialized to close the GOP primary in the tax collector and supervisor of elections race.

Again, it’s not a crime in Florida to run as a “ghost” candidate who does not actively campaign or sincerely seek election. “Moe Saunders” apparently doesn’t even live in Miami-Dade; by contrast Martin County write-in DeAngeles is a local resident, former Ocean Breeze Town Council President and former head of the Jensen Beach Chamber of Commerce — who perhaps is doing Smith a solid.

Where candidates resort to deception to get elected, it tells you a lot about the candidate. But politics, as the old saying goes, ain’t beanbag.

Though this kind of politics IS bullsugar.