Appeal planned over Ashjian U.S. Senate candidacy
(AP) – The Independent American Party will appeal a judge’s ruling allowing Tea Party of Nevada candidate Scott Ashjian to remain on November’s ballot, the party’s attorney said Thursday.
Ashjian’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Harry Reid was challenged by IAP candidate Tim Fasano, who also is running for the Senate.
Documents show Ashjian was a registered Republican when he filed his paperwork to be a candidate for the newly created minor party in March. He didn’t change his voter registration until later the same day.
IAP lawyer Joel Hansen on Thursday said an appeal will be filed to the Nevada Supreme Court.
“If you are going to divorce your wife, you must divorce her first before you get married to your second wife,” Hansen said in an e-mailed statement. “This is essentially what Scott Ashjian did.”
Conservative activist Chuck Muth, president of Citizen Outreach Foundation, is funding the appeal.
“For us, this is no longer about Scott Ashjian,” Muth said. He wants the Supreme Court to decided whether compliance with state law “is like horseshoes, where close enough is good enough and, if so, just how close is close enough.”
Tea Party of Nevada was formed as a minor party in January.
Ashjian’s candidacy declaration was notarized on March 1. During a court hearing last month, he said he filed it March 2 in Carson City, then flew back to Las Vegas where he changed his voter registration that day.
During a court hearing last month, Hansen argued Ashjian’s candidacy declaration was therefore a false statement and he should be removed from the ballot.
Ashjian’s lawyer Allen Lichtenstein countered there was no intend to defraud or mislead voters, and argued there’s nothing in state law that requires someone running as a minor party candidate to be a member of that party, or even a registered voter.
“The only issue here is the technical sequence of how things transpired that day,” Lichtenstein told the judge.
Local tea party activists and the national Tea Party Express have denounced Ashjian as an opportunist trying to exploit the popular conservative movement.