(Chuck Muth) – Some folks have written asking why we filed this new lawsuit to strike Tea Party of Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Scott Ashjian from the ballot since one lawsuit to the effect has already been filed and is currently pending appeal in the Nevada Supreme Court.
The short answer is that this lawsuit is based on totally separate grounds.
The lawsuit filed last April contends that Ashjian should be kicked off the ballot because he lied on his statement of candidacy – which he did. In essence, he got married to the Tea Party in the morning before getting divorced from the Republican Party in the afternoon. The law says you can’t do that, but a district court judge said, “What the heck?”
Let’s hope the Supremes disagree and uphold the fact that the law means what the law says.
In any event, this new lawsuit is about something completely different.
NRS (Nevada Revised Statutes) says that for a minor party to qualify for ballot status, it needs to gather enough valid signatures equal to 1 percent of the voter turnout in the prior general election before a June deadline. In 2010, that would mean about 9,000 signatures.
The Tea Party of Nevada didn’t submit ANY signatures whatsoever.
Instead, they tried to get around the law by claiming that instead of qualifying as a party, all they had to do was qualify one of their candidates as a candidate of their party by collecting just 250 signatures.
Our contention is that the law says Scott Ashjian can put himself on the ballot by gathering just 250 signatures as an INDEPENDENT; but if he wants to appear on the ballot as the member of a party, that party ALSO has to qualify to appear on the ballot. Which the Tea Party of Nevada hasn’t done.
Why is this distinction so important to the integrity of our elections?
Because if Scott Ashjian is allowed to get away with this fraud, what’s to stop an anti-union activist like myself from filing papers in 2012 forming the “Organized Labor Party,” gathering just 250 signatures on a petition, and then running for office hoping that enough not-too-bright voters will see “Organized Labor Party” on the ballot next to my name and vote for me, possibly swinging a close election away from the Democrat and over to the Republican?
Or what is a big-government, tax-and-spend liberal decides to file in 2012 as run as a candidate of the “No New Taxes Party,” hoping to draw just enough votes away from the Republican candidate to throw an election to the Democrat?
No, for a party to be qualified as a party it should be required to be, you know, a real party, not just some legal paperwork filed with the Secretary of State. The fact is, this Ashjian con artist and his “Tea Party” party hasn’t held a convention, a single membership meeting, a rally or even had a beer together in a bar somewhere since filing as a “party” last November.
This whole thing is a sham and a fraud and Scott Ashjian is nothing more than a low-life, dishonest snake-oil salesman.
Which brings me to my final point.
Jon Ralston wrote about our new lawsuit yesterday in his Flash e-newsletter, characterizing it as an act of “desperation,” suggesting the motivation behind trying to kick Ashjian off the ballot was solely to help Republicans in their effort to defeat Reid.
That is SO not true.
I’ll let the others who joined me in this lawsuit speak for themselves as to their motivation, but I suspect they probably tend to agree with me on this at some level: My motivation here is driven by an intense hostility and disdain toward Scott Ashjian and his effort to “steal” the tea party name despite the fact that he has and has had absolutely NO INVOLVEMENT with the tea party movement whatsoever.
The guy is a slimeball, a skunk and an egotistical opportunist who doesn’t give a damn about the tea party movement or what that movement stands for. I hope the judge Rochambeau’s him in court!