U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to get on the ballot for the Republican primary in Colorado.
The Congressman is challenging the state law that was used to remove him from the ballot in a Colorado Supreme Court decision Monday. Specifically, his lawyers argue that the residency requirement violates the First Amendment..
"This complaint seeks a declaratory judgement that Section 1-4-905(1) violated the First Amendment. This complaint also seeks a permanent injunction directing the Colorado Secretary of State, and all Defendants’ agents and successors, including but not limited to the county clerk and recorder of each county within Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District, from enforcing Colorado Revised Statutes 1-4-905(1).
Of the six people included as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Ryan Mark Tipple’s prior listing of his in-laws address in Colorado Springs while he had a permanent residence in California is at the center of the dispute. According to the plaintiffs, Tipple "considered himself to be a resident of Colorado for the purpose of voter registration, and was registered to vote in the State of Colorado" based on county clerk and Secretary of State rolls.
The filing was made in US District Court for the District of Colorado. Judges would need to move fast to rule on Rep. Lamborn’s behalf in order for him to meet the Colorado Secretary of State deadline of April 27th to be included on ballots for the June 26th primary election.
On Monday, April 23rd, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Lamborn does not have enough signatures to appear on the ballot. The "expedited decision" came 13 days after a district judge ruled Lamborn had more than 1,000 valid signatures needed to remain on the ballot. In that initial decision, District Court Judge Brian Whitney threw out around 58 signatures from just one petition circulator. The plaintiffs appealed that initial ruling.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that another circulator’s signatures were not valid, because he did not live in Colorado. The earlier decision from the district judge ruled the circulator in question, Ryan Tipple, had just relocated to Colorado before taking a job with Kennedy Enterprises, the company Lamborn used to gather the signatures.
District Court Judge Whitney said he believed that Tipple intended to live here at the time that he took the job with Kennedy. Mr. Tipple had collected 269 signatures for the Lamborn campaign. According to the Secretary of State Office’s, the Lamborn campaign obtained 1,269 valid signatures.
The supreme court’s ruling threw those signatures out, putting him below the 1,000 minimum signatures required to appear on the ballot, along with the previous 58 signatures that were thrown out earlier.
The decision comes several weeks after five voters from the 5th Congressional District filed suit against the Lamborn Campaign and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams alleging some of those signatures were invalid. State election law has residency requirements for petition circulators.
When we reached out to Rep. Lamborn’s office, they did not comment.
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.
The Colorado primary election is set to take place on June 26.