Florida Candidate Apologizes for Faking Her College Diploma

Melissa Howard initially said she intended to stay in the race despite the scandal.

A political candidate is apologizing after being caught in a scandal over a nonexistent college degree.

Small-business owner Melissa Howard is a Republican running for the Florida state legislature.

The 46-year-old posted a photo of herself and her mom proudly displaying her supposed diploma, which claimed she had received a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Miami University in Ohio.

But questions were raised over whether the diploma was real after the school said that it doesn't offer such a degree. If it were a real diploma, it would say "bachelor of science in business," according to the school.

The university told Inside Edition that Howard did attend the school but did not graduate.

Also, the signature is another giveaway – the man who signed it would not have been dean in 1996, when the diploma was allegedly conferred. 

"I would like to apologize to my family and my supporters for this situation. It was not my intent to deceive or mislead anyone. 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," she said in a statement.

While Howard admitted to the mistake, she initially remained defiant, saying: "I am staying in the race and intend to win and lead by example from now on."

Howard ultimately dropped out of the race on Tuesday.