A federal judge granted Congressman Doug Lamborn’s request for an emergency injunction Tuesday, allowing him to stay on the June GOP primary ballot.
The ruling issued Tuesday afternoon refutes a Colorado Supreme Court ruling issued last week that found one of the petition circulators hired by the Lamborn campaign was not a Colorado resident. That meant the signatures he collected were disqualified. putting Lamborn below the 1,000 signature minimum to stay on the ballot.
Federal Judge Philip A. Brimmer ordered Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams to stop enforcing the portion of Colorado law that required residency in order to get signatures on the ballot.
Brimmer also ordered Williams to certify Doug Lamborn to appear on the Fifth Congressional District ballot unless there are other disqualifying infractions that would prohibit him from appearing on the ballot.
Lamborn’s campaign spokesperson Dan Bayens commented on the ruling Tuesday in a written statement to News 5.
"We believe it is time to move on from this issue, and we hope our opponents will end their legal maneuverings in an effort to disqualify Congressman Lamborn from the Republican primary. Bayens said. "As we have said all along, we believe voters – not lawyers and judges – should decide the outcome of elections."
Kyle Fisk, the spokesperson for the plaintiffs in the case, issued a written statement of his own Tuesday afternoon.
"We are disappointed that a federal chose to overrule the unanimous decision of the Colorado Supreme Court as well as overturn the will of the people of Colorado as expressed by their elected representatives," Fisk said.
Fisk also told us they have filed an appeal to the 10th circuit court of appeals. The group also requested that Colorado Secretary of State not certify the ballot until the circuit court hears the appeal.
Fisk had told News 5 in an earlier interview that a ruling in Lamborn’s favor will likely stick because the Secretary of State is not planning to appeal. Fisk said he had hoped the Brimmer would rule against Lamborn
The full ruling is listed below:
This ruling is the latest in a series of ruling both in favor of Lamborn and the plaintiffs.
Lamborn’s attorney Ryan Call argued Monday that the state high court violated the First Amendment Rights of the petition gatherer as well as the voters who signed the petition
The state argued that Lamborn had ample opportunities to challenge the residency requirement during the process. Kyle Fisk, a spokesman for the plaintiffs, said that Lamborn’s lawsuit is a last minute effort to upend established law.
"Until four days ago, nobody questioned the constitutionality of this," Fisk said. "It’s been on the books for 40 years, Doug Lamborn has been in office for 12 years and he never had a problem with this law until he needed this to be declared unconstitutional in his quest to stay on the ballot and retain his office."
When asked why he didn’t challenge the constitutionality of the state law before now, Lamborn said he did his due diligence and so did the company he hired.
"The guy whose signatures were thrown out, whose petitions were thrown out, was a registered voter of Colorado. He had grown up in Colorado and the district court judge who looked him in the eye and heard his voice said he was a Colorado resident."
Lamborn hired the Colorado Springs company Kennedy Enterprises to collect signatures for his petition drive. The circulators initially turned in more than 1,700 signatures. However, the Secretary of State’s Office disqualified around 500 of them. The remaining 1,269 signatures were enough for a finding of sufficiency to be on the ballot.
Earlier this month a group of voters in the 5th Congressional District challenged the qualifications of a half dozen circulators. Two of them came under the most scrutiny, Jeffrey Carter and Ryan Tipple.
Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney agreed with the plaintiffs that Carter was, in fact, a resident of Missouri and he disqualified 58 of the signatures. However, he ruled that Tipple, who had collected around 270 signatures, intended to be a resident at the time that he registered to vote here and circulate petitions.
Fisk said that a ruling in Lamborn’s favor will likely stick because the Secretary of State is not planning to appeal. He hopes the judge rules against Lamborn