VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Democratic Party of Virginia has filed a lawsuit to get Independent candidate for Congress Shaun Brown removed from the ballot in the second congressional district.
Democrats say the petition to qualify Brown to be on the ballot is "infected with fraud." They want state election officials to be prevented from printing ballots with Brown's name on it unless she can prove she has enough valid signatures. Brown was previously certified by the State Board of Elections, but now Democrats say many of the signatures collected are bogus.
Brown is in a three-way race between Republican Congressman Scott Taylor and Democratic challenger Elaine Luria. Political analysts say having Brown and Luria on the ballot could dilute the Democratic vote and help Taylor win reelection.
Congressman's Taylor's staff helped in the efforts to get Brown on the ballot by collecting signatures, but last week several people came forward to say they never signed the petition. Now, a special prosecutor is investigating whether Taylor's staff did anything illegal. Democrats say they now have 35 sworn affidavits from people or family members who say they never signed the petition.
On Friday, Brown defended her and her team's collections. "I've been certified by the State Board of Elections and if they were concerned, I wouldn't have been certified," she said.
News 3 asked Luria whether she agreed with her party's efforts. "There has been a question about the validity of some of those signatures and I'm sure the State Board of Elections will take every necessary action to ensure integrity of the election process," she said on Monday. "I think it's unfortunate that my opponent is scared to face me one-on-one and tried to do dirty tricks."
Congressman Taylor says he found about the questionable signatures at the same time as everyone else and has now fired two campaign staffers. In a statement Monday, campaign spokesman Scott Weldon said Democrats "will stop at nothing to keep [Brown] off the ballot in November." He says the campaign can't comment on the staffers' efforts due to the ongoing investigation.
Full Statement from Shaun Brown attorney on the lawsuit by the Virginia Democratic Party:
The lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party attempting to remove Shaun Brown from the ballot is simply another example of the desperateness of a bankrupt ideology based on bullying and duplicity. The Democratic Party has long since lost its way in representing working class people, people of color, minorities, and progressives.
Shaun Brown collected enough valid signatures to earn a place on the ballot in November. To try to remove her now, after having been certified, is
further proof of the lack of commitment by the Democratic Party to our representative democracy born here in Virginia.
They ought to be ashamed. Let the people speak for themselves on November 6th.
We are weighing our options of filing a Civil Rights lawsuit in federal court against the Democratic Party for violating Shaun's rights, naming, of course, those people individually who filed this frivolous action as well as those persons who signed affidavits attached thereto.