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Judge rules Doug Lamborn can stay on GOP primary ballot - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Judge rules Doug Lamborn can stay on GOP primary ballot

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DENVER -

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn will be able to stay on the GOP primary ballot in Colorado.

District Court Judge Brian Whitney threw out around 58 signatures from just one petition circulator, meaning Lamborn has more than 1,000 valid signatures to remain on the ballot.

Five voters from the 5th Congressional District filed suit against the Lamborn Campaign and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams alleging that some of the employees at a company Lamborn hired to collect signatures, Kennedy Enterprises, actually live out of state.  State election law has residency requirements for petition circulators.

At issue were signatures collected by seven specific circulators. Judge Whitney determined that five of the seven had sufficient ties to Colorado to satisfy the residency requirements.  A sixth circulator, Ryan Tipple, does not currently live in the state and had relocated here just before taking a job with Kennedy. Whitney said he believed that Tipple intended to live here at the time that he took the job with Kennedy.

In a statement, Lamborn campaign spokesman Dan Bayens said they are pleased that the judge agreed with their position that there were a sufficient number of signatures to be included on the ballot.

"We are very disappointed that our opponents resorted to a cheap political stunt in an attempt to disenfranchise voters," Bayens said.

Attorney Ryan Call, who represented the Congressman's campaign in the litigation, said after the ruling that there was no way for them to know the backgrounds of all the employees all Kennedy hired.

"The Lamborn campaign didn't do anything wrong,  we weren't aware of anything wrong. The campaign isn't trying to hide anything," Call said. "While the are some questions about ties back to Michigan for one of the circulators the court found that the were plenty of ties for all those other circulators to Colorado."

Attorney Michael Francisco, who represents the plaintiffs, told reporters he thought the judge's reasoning was subjective. They presented evidence that showed Tipple is currently registered to vote in California, owns a house there, has family there as well as a California drivers license and vehicles that are registered in that state.  

"He ultimately found a subjective intent to stay here trumped all the objective evidence that he was really from California," Francisco said. "We think that, subject to consulting with the clients, if you look at the judges order carefully,  there's a strong basis to appeal the factual findings."

Kyle Fisk, a spokesman for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that they plan to appeal the ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court. 

"The plaintiffs believe the Court was in error," Fisk said. "The subjective intent should not take precedent over the objective evidence for residence of the circulator."

The case will likely be heard before the end of the week. Mr. Tipple had collected 269 signatures for the Lamborn campaign. Those along with the 58 that were dismissed Tuesday could potentially reach a threshold where Lamborn would not have enough signatures to remain on the ballot.  According to the Secretary of State Office's, the Lamborn campaign obtained 1,269 valid signatures

The 6 term Republican skipped the county assembly process, meaning the petition was necessary to get his name on the ballot.  Colorado Springs State Senator Owen Hill won the nomination at last month's CO-05 assembly. Hill and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn are both challenging Lamborn in the June primary.

Earlier Tuesday, Colorado Gubernatorial Candidate Walker Stapleton asked the Secretary of State to toss out all of his petitions because he hired the same company Lamborn used to collect signatures. The firm, Kennedy Enterprises, used a non-resident who was not a Republican and not registered to vote in Colorado to gather signatures, which is a violation of state law.

Lamborn was first elected in 2006 and has served six terms as the Congressional Representative for one of Colorado's most reliably Republican-voting districts.  No Democrat has ever been elected since the district's formation in 1972. Lamborn last faced a primary election in 2008.

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