Lawsuit challenges tea party Senate hopeful
(AP) – Conservatives affiliated with the national and Nevada tea party movement filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the U.S. Senate bid of Tea Party of Nevada candidate Scott Ashjian.
The suit filed in state court in argues that state law required Ashjian to submit signatures totaling 1 percent of votes casts in Nevada’s last U.S. House elections to qualify for the November election.
Ashjian is a member of the Tea Party of Nevada, which was formed in January. He collected names of 250 registered voters under another provision in the law to get on the ballot.
“For the past decade, this has been the manner in which the Legislature has allowed minor party candidates to gain ballot access,” said Matt Griffin, elections deputy for the secretary of state’s office.
But Dan Burdish, a plaintiff, said that while collecting 250 names allowed him to file as a candidate, the suit argues that Ashjian was still obligated to comply with the larger signature requirement to get on the ballot as an official minor party candidate.
Local tea party activists and the national Tea Party Express have denounced Ashjian as an opportunist trying to exploit the popular conservative movement.
The lawsuit was filed by members of Citizen Outreach, a group headed by conservative activist Chuck Muth; Independent American Party director Janine Hansen; and Debbie Landis, president of Anger is Brewing, an organization affiliated with the national tea party movement.