(Phillip Moyer/Nevada News Bureau) – Last Friday, Nevada Tea Party Senate candidate Scott Ashjian filed a response to the lawsuit brought against him by Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano.
Ashjian, who has been denounced in an advertisement by the Tea Party Express bus tour as a “fraud,” is set to appear in a hearing at the Carson City District Court this Wednesday to determine whether his name should be dropped from the ballot. Ashjian’s response to the suit claims that Fasano’s challenges to his qualifications are not enough to disqualify his candidacy.
Ashjian does not dispute any of the factual claims made by the lawsuit, which says that Ashjian has no affiliation with the national Tea Party movement or its Nevada Affiliate Anger is Brewing. The lawsuit also says that when Ashjian signed his Declaration of Candidacy on March 1, he was a registered member of the Republican Party, not registering with the Tea Party until March 2 – the day the declaration was filed.
Rather, Ashjian’s response says the suit “has failed to provide any basis under Nevada law for the removal of Mr. Ashjian from the ballot.”
The response says that the lawsuit does not mention any legal reasoning for why Ashjian would need affiliation with either the national Tea Party movement or Anger is Brewing in order to be the candidate using the party name “Tea Party of Nevada,” which has no formal affiliation with either organization.
“The fact that Mr. Fasano and Ms. Landis may feel that Mr. Ashjian does not represent the ideals or policies that they believe should be associated with the Tea Party name is of no relevance,” Ashjian’s response states.
The response also says the complaint about Ashjian’s Republican affiliation on the day he signed the Declaration for Candidacy is irrelevant. The Declaration for Candidacy, the response says, was accurate on the day he filed for candidacy, March 2, since he registered with the Tea Party on the same day.
“This argument is clearly frivolous,” Ashjian’s response says. “It is analogous to a tenant who claims not to owe a late fee for paying the rent after its due date because he wrote the check earlier. The salient date in both the rent and candidacy filing is the date of actual presentment.”
Ashjian’s response claims that even if the complaint is determined to be legitimate, his candidacy would still be valid, given the Nevada Supreme Court’s standard of “Substantial Compliance” which says a candidate’s name will not be removed from the ballot unless the filing’s discrepancies would mislead voters, which Ashjian says is not the case.