DENVER (AP) – Rep. Doug Lamborn filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday in a last-ditch bid to get his name back on the GOP primary ballot after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled he must be kicked off it because his campaign did not gather petitions correctly.
Colorado law requires congressional candidates to gather signatures from 1,200 party members in their district. But two of the people who gathered signatures on behalf of Lamborn’s campaign did not live in the state of Colorado, rendering invalid the names they collected and dropping the six-term incumbent below the legal threshold to be on the ballot, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Lamborn and his campaign contended Wednesday that the Colorado law requiring signature-gatherers to reside in the state violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. “This case involves violation of a fundamental part of the First Amendment – the right of association,” wrote Lamborn’s attorney Ryan Call, a former Colorado Republican Party chairman.
The campaign is also seeking an injunction requiring Lamborn’s name appear on the June 26 primary. Ballots for the primary must be printed in the coming days.
Lamborn has fought off a series of primary challenges over his career. Darryl Glen, who challenged Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016, and state Sen. Owen Hill are already on the GOP primary ballot in his district.
If Lamborn is unsuccessful in his federal lawsuit, then his only option would be to run as a write-in candidate in the general election. He missed Colorado’s Jan. 1 deadline for candidates to file as independents.
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