Court Battles

Minnesota voter sues over Trump-only GOP primary ballot

A Minnesota voter is challenging the Republican-submitted primary ballots that only include President Trump as a candidate, the Star Tribune reported.

Jim Martin, a small business operator from Lake Elmo who is registered as an independent, filed the legal challenge ahead of the state’s March 3 primary. The suit says he didn’t want to participate in a “Soviet-style” election where political parties decide who is on the ballot. 

“I want to be in an American election,” Martin said, according to the Star Tribune. “It’s something that sets us apart from the world.”

Martin’s challenge alleges that both parties left out candidates but was sparked by the Republican ballot. 

Erick Kaardal, Martin’s attorney, said in a statement to The Hill that they are looking forward to arguing to “stop the Trump-only GOP presidential primary ballot.”

“Minnesota’s thirteen million dollar taxpayer-funded presidential primary ballot is spoiled by an unconstitutional system allowing political party chairs to choose their respective candidates,” Kaardal said. “Fortunately, the Minnesota Constitution prohibits the state legislature from granting such powers to an individual, association or corporation.”

The Minnesota voter said he wants to vote for Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a Republican businessman.

Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan of the Republican Party of Minnesota stood by her choice to exclude other candidates, saying her responsibility is to get the president reelected, according to the newspaper. 

Martin also took note that the president gave $50,000 to the Republican National Committee, the same day the RNC provided money to Minnesota’s Republican Party. Carnahan denies these donations are connected, calling the allegations “egregious, absurd and irresponsible,” the StarTribune reported.

The Minnesota Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case Jan. 9, but the Minnesota GOP worries that they would not be able to change the ballots in time for early voting on Jan. 17 if they lose, according to the newspaper. The state Supreme Court denied a petition from the secretary of state and attorney general’s office to expedite the decision to allow time to prepare ballots.

The Hill reached out to the Republican Party of Minnesota for comment.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R) are also running against the president.

Georgia’s Republican Party has also submitted ballots with only Trump’s name, and several others have canceled their primaries or caucuses for the GOP. 

Tags 2020 presidential primary Ballot Bill Weld Donald Trump Joe Walsh Lawsuit Minnesota

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