Colorado Congressman Sues to Stay on GOP Ballot

DENVER (CN) – Six-term incumbent Doug Lamborn is not going down without a fight. The Colorado congressman asked a federal court Wednesday to review the law that got him disqualified from participating in the Republican Party primary election.

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that signatures gathered by two out-of-state petitioners disqualified him from appearing on the ballot in the state’s primary election, scheduled for June 26.

Now Lamborn is arguing that state law requiring petition circulators to be residents affiliated with the candidate’s party unconstitutionally interferes with the rights of free speech and free association.

In addition to preventing Lamborn from running, the complaint claims the law’s real harm is in “depriving the voters of the Fifth Congressional District the opportunity to re-elect Congressman Lamborn to the U.S. House of Representatives.”

In addition to Lamborn, the petition is filed under the names of five voters whose signatures were invalidated “solely on the grounds that the person who collected their signatures … was not in fact a ‘resident’ of Colorado.”

Ryan Tipple, an employee of the National Association of Professional Petitioners and Coordinators (NAPPC) and a plaintiff in the case, collected 269 signatures on behalf of the congressman. Although Tipple testified that he considers himself a resident of Colorado, he lives and is registered to vote in California, therefore the state Supreme Court ruled him ineligible to circulate petitions on behalf on a Colorado candidate.

“Relying solely on the Colorado Election Code, the supreme court concludes [Secretary of State Wayne Williams] may not,” certify Lamborn’s petitions, the court wrote in its 26-page ruling published Monday. While the Supreme Court did not find Williams’ verification at fault, “the petitioners nonetheless had the statutory right to challenge the validity of the petition … (and) presented additional evidence.”

Lamborn’s federal complaint points to a recent decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a similar law in New Jersey in the case of Shawn Wilmoth v. Secretary of the State of New Jersey.

Several other Colorado candidates this week have demanded Williams take a second look at their signatures, including attorney general candidate Brad Levine, treasurer candidate Brian Watson, and gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson.

According to the Associated Press, a Denver district court judge reviewed Robinson’s petition Wednesday and sanctioned his run in the state’s primary election.

Lamborn also filed a motion requesting preliminary injunction that would certify him for the 2018 Republican Primary ballot.

Lamborn is represented by attorney Ryan Call of Hale Westfall.

 

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