California Congressman Withdrawal Raises Election Law Puzzle

On March 10, Republican Congressman Elton Gallegly of California announced that he has a medical condition that will prevent him from running for re-election. He had already filed to be on the Republican primary ballot, and March 10 was the deadline for candidates to file to run in a primary.

California law says if an incumbent fails to file for re-election, the primary filing deadline is extended 5 days. However, that law doesn’t apply, since Gallegly already did file. California does not permit withdrawals. Prominent California Republicans who live in that district would like to run to replace Gallegly, but it is too late for them to get on the ballot. There may be write-in campaigns in the primary. The California primary is June 6.

Alabama Democrat Barred from Primary Because he was a write-in Candidate 4 years ago

Alabama law lets political parties prevent candidates from running in their primaries, if that party feels the candidate is “disloyal”. Recently, the Alabama Democratic Party prevented Steve Small from running for Jefferson County Commissioner. The reason is that, 4 years ago, Small ran as a write-in candidate for the same post in the general election, in opposition to the Democratic and Republican nominees.

In Alabama, write-in candidates do not file as declared write-in nominees. People who wish to campaign as write-in candidates simply campaign, but they need not file any declaration of candidacy. Therefore, in no sense was Small an “official” candidate 4 years ago. This recent Democratic Party decision shows the tyranny of an election system, like Alabama’s, which prevents people from running in the primary, and also makes ballot access for independent candidates extremely difficult. Alabama and New Mexico are tied for having the strictest ballot access petitions for independent candidates for statewide state office, in the nation (3% of the last vote cast).

Thanks to Ed Still for this news.

Illinois State Senator Might Create New Party

Illinois State Senator James Meeks, a Democrat from Chicago, is threatening to organize a new party this year and to be its candidate for Governor. He is angry with the incumbent Democratic Governor, Rod Blagojevich, for promising not to raise sales or income taxes. Although Meeks is a Democrat, he was elected to the State Senate in 2002 as the nominee of the “Honesty and Integrity Party”. Meeks cannot be an independent candidate for Governor this year because the deadline has already passed, although that deadline is under legal attack in a case filed in 2004, now pending in the 7th circuit.

Lenora Fulani Loses First Round of Independence Party Fight

On March 7, the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn dismissed a lawsuit brought by Lenora Fulani and her allies, over whether the state Independence Party had a right to dissolve three county organizations of the party. Judge Joseph Levine ruled that the lawsuit has procedural flaws, and dismissed it without prejudice, so that it can be refiled under different procedures. The three counties are Brooklyn (Kings), Queens and Bronx, where Fulani and her allies were in charge.