RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Democratic Party of Virginia has filed a lawsuit against the state board of elections in an attempt to remove independent Shaun Brown from this year’s race for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Brown is running for the seat currently held by Republican Scott Taylor, despite accusations of fraud by Brown and alleged attempts by Taylor staffers to forge signatures needed to get the former Democrat on the ballot as an Independent.
Critics, including the Democratic Party, see this as a ploy to split the Democratic vote between Brown and Taylor’s Democratic rival, former Navy commander Elaine Luria. The party sent a letter to the state board of elections and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday saying that if no action was taken, they would sue on Monday.
“The Party has indisputably demonstrated that the continued inclusion of Brown on the ballot violates numerous provisions of the Virginia Constitution, as well as settled Virginia statutory law,” the lawsuit reads. “As set forth in both their Complaint and above, the inclusion on the ballot of a candidate whose qualification petition is riddled with indisputably fraudulent entries violates the affirmative right to vote and irreparably injures the speech and associational rights of the Party members whose names fraudulently appear on the Petition, and is in clear violation of Virginia law regarding the standards an independent candidate must meet in order to appear on the ballot under Virginia law.”
A special prosecutor had already been assigned to investigate the case.
Following the filing of the suit, Shaun Brown’s campaign shot back threatening to counter sue.
“We are weighing our options of filing a Civil Rights lawsuit in federal court against the Democratic Party for violating Shaun’s rights, naming, of course, those people individually who filed this frivolous action as well as those persons who signed affidavits attached thereto,” said James Ellenson, attorney for Brown.
The statement also attacked the Democratic Party’s commitment to its base.
“The lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party attempting to remove Shaun Brown from the ballot is simply another example of the desperateness of a bankrupt ideology based on bullying and duplicity. The Democratic Party has long since lost its way in representing working class people, people of color, minorities, and progressives.”
Luria’s campaign released a statement focusing on Taylor’s involvement in the ordeal.
“The reports of Congressman Scott Taylor’s campaign potentially forging petition signatures are deeply concerning. I trust the special prosecutor to investigate these allegations, and the Board of Elections to uphold the integrity of our election process,” said Luria. “But one thing I learned during my 20 years serving in the Navy is that the buck stops with you, and Congressman Taylor owes this district answers about his role in this scandal.”
However Taylor’s campaign continues to paint the picture that Luria’s campaign actively worked to keep Brown off the ballot on November 6.
The Democrats forced Shaun Brown, who was their nominee just two years ago, out of the Primary and now they will stop at nothing to keep her off the ballot in November,” said Scott Welden, Taylor’s Spokesperson. “That is what this lawsuit is about.Our campaign is focused on talking about Scott’s record serving the people of the 2nd District. With respect to the, efforts by some in our campaign to assist Ms. Brown in getting on the ballot, there is an investigation that is ongoing and it obviously would not be appropriate to comment at this time.”
You can read the full lawsuit here.