Doug Lamborn on Colorado's 5th congressional district primary ballot, judge orders

Lamborn opponents file appeal with 10th Circuit
Posted at 3:43 PM, May 01, 2018

UPDATE (Wednesday, May 2, 2:42 p.m.): Appeals filed in the Colorado Supreme Court and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by the group that petitioned to get Rep. Doug Lamborn off the ballot in the first place were denied Wednesday, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Rep. Lamborn will officially be on the 5th congressional district Republican primary ballot once ballots are certified.


Original story below:

DENVER – Six-term U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn will likely get the chance to try for a seventh term, as a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Lamborn should be on the Republican primary ballot in Colorado’s 5th congressional district. But his opponents have filed an appeal to try and keep him off.

U.S. District Court of Colorado Judge Philip A. Brimmer made the ruling Tuesday afternoon, a day after Lamborn’s attorney argued that Colorado’s residency requirement for signature gatherers violated the U.S. Constitution.

“Defendant Wayne W. Williams shall certify Douglas Lamborn to the 2018 Republican primary ballot for the Fifth Congressional District unless, for reasons other than the residency requirement discussed in this order, he does not qualify,” Brimmer wrote in the order.

The challenge in federal court came after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled last week that Lamborn should be off the ballot because some of the signature gatherers his campaign used were deemed not to be state residents.

And that decision came after a Denver District Court ruling that found Lamborn should remain on the ballot despite some of the signature gatherers his campaign used possibly being out-of-state residents.

Five Republicans from Lamborn’s district, which contains the Colorado Springs area, sued Secretary of State Wayne Williams and called into question why he had certified the ballot petitions gathered by Lamborn’s campaign. They had appealed the district judge's decision to the state Supreme Court.

Some of Lamborn’s challengers for the seat and other local opponents had also tried to intervene in the federal lawsuit, but that was denied by the District Court and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A Denver District Court judge also denied a complaint from Lamborn’s camp in which he’d argued that he could fix his signatures – saying he’d already missed that window.

In Brimmer’s order, he enjoined Williams from enforcing the signature gatherer residency requirement on a preliminary basis and ordered Lamborn be certified.

“The Court finds that both of the final two preliminary injunction factors weigh strongly in favor of plaintiffs and that, overall, plaintiffs have made a sufficient showing to justify the issuance of a mandatory injunction,” Brimmer wrote.

Dan Bayens, a spokesperson for Lamborn's campaign, said in a statement to Denver7 he was pleased with the order, and felt that the federal court's order was in line with other federal rulings.

"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. As we have said all along, we believe voters – not lawyers and judges – should decide the outcome of elections," Bayens said.

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert said in a statement her office would review the order, but is moving ahead with the election and primary process.

"We will evaluate the case, but right now our focus is on an election that fast approaches," Staiert said. "Ballots must be printed and sent to our military and overseas voters on May 12."

The group that had originally petitioned to get Lamborn off the ballot will appeal to the 10th Circuit and hope that ballot certification will be postponed further, a spokesman for the group, Kyle Fisk, told Denver7.

"We have consistently argued that the affiliated voter requirement and circulator affidavit fraud committed by Ryan Tipple are just such state law grounds to disqualify Lamborn from the ballot. We have appealed and maintain the position even after this ruling that Lamborn should not be on the ballot," Fisk said in a statement to Denver7.

"We call on the Secretary of State to properly apply the complete findings of the Colorado Supreme Court and follow partial ruling by Judge Brimmer by choosing to not certify Lamborn to the ballot based upon his failure to qualify under all state requirements," Fisk added.

Ballot certification had already been pushed back because of this lawsuit and others challenging Colorado's ballot petition rules, and some lawsuits are still pending.

In addition to Hill, Lamborn also faces several other Republicans in the district primary, including commissioner Darryl Glenn, who ran against Sen. Michael Bennet and lost in 2016. Other challengers include Bill Rhea and Tyler Stevens.