Romney to be on fall ballot
Judge rules GOP is a major party
OLYMPIA – Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be on Washington’s presidential ballot this fall because the Republican Party meets the rules for being a major party in the state, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled Monday.
Judge Thomas McPhee denied a request by the state Libertarian Party to keep Romney’s name off the ballot, rejecting arguments that Republicans hadn’t complied with rules for nominating Dino Rossi as the official GOP nominee in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.
State Republican Chairman Kirby Wilbur said the challenge was an “absurdly silly” waste of time. An attorney for the Romney campaign said they may seek legal fees for defending against a frivolous lawsuit.
J. Mills, attorney for the Libertarian Party, said he wouldn’t appeal, but said the ruling may prompt Libertarians and other minor parties to change their strategy to get candidates on the presidential ballot in 2016.
Mills claimed Republicans lost their major party status when their state convention failed to nominate Rossi in the only statewide race in 2010. At the time, party members were split between Rossi and Clint Didier and convention delegates didn’t take a nomination vote.
The state party argued that when Rossi qualified for the general election in the Top 2 primary, the party’s State Central Committee endorsed him.
That was good enough, McPhee said. Political parties have control over selecting the candidates they will support and the state also made a valid argument that Republicans are a major party based on the results of the 2008 presidential election, he added.
The challenge revolved around the distinction the state makes between major and minor parties. Major party presidential candidates automatically go on the fall ballot after winning their party’s nominating process. Minor parties must submit 1,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office to get their candidates on the ballot.
“Do we all play by the same rules or when the Republicans come in do they just get a different deal?” Mills asked McPhee.
Attorney Rob Maguire said the Romney campaign may pursue sanctions and attorneys fees against Mills for bringing a suit it considers frivolous. “They take any kind of action in a presidential race seriously,” he said.