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There’s an old phrase that goes: “You ain’t gotta lie to kick it.”

Unfortunately for Republican Florida State House candidate Melissa Howard, she felt the need to lie about her credentials and got caught holding a phony diploma. And if she were Black, her career would be over.

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Howard, 46, who has bragged in her campaign ads that she is a college graduate, was first exposed by Florida conservative website FLA News when the site reported that Howard did not graduate from Miami University in Ohio.

According to her campaign website, Howard says that she was born to a blue-collar family in “Middle America” and is the first in her family to attend college. “Upon graduation,” the website says, Howard worked for large and small companies before starting her own marketing business.

In an attempt to prove the site was pumping “fake news,” Howard flew back to Ohio to personally pick up her college transcripts to and posted a picture with her mom smiling next to her framed degree.

The website initially apologized for the story after seeing the photo, but later received and e-mail from the university that Howard in fact did NOT graduate from the school and that degree she was showing off in the picture was a fake.

According to The Washington Post, Miami University general counsel Robin Parker wrote in the email that the fake diploma showed Melissa Fox, Howard’s maiden name, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. The problem?  Miami University offers no such degree.

Plus, Howard claims to have graduated in 1996, but Parker said she was not enrolled that year and had not been since 1994.

When confronted with these facts, Howard’s campaign did what would you would expect from a Republican in 2018: they cried “fake news.”

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Her consultant, Anthony Pedicini, said in a statement that Howard’s husband suffered a cardiac incident Friday night.  He said Howard is focused on her family and not on “fake news.”

When asked why the campaign is calling the revelation “fake news” when the only thing fake is her diploma, Pedicini said, “That’s all I got for you right now.”

The one question left remaining is where she got that fake diploma from?