By Nicholas Riccardi, Associated Press
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn should be on the Republican primary ballot, finding he would likely prevail in a lawsuit contending his dismissal from the ballot was unconstitutional.
The Colorado Supreme Court booted Lamborn from the ballot last week, saying one of the people who circulated petitions on his behalf does not live in the state and the signatures he gathered must be stricken.
The order dropped Lamborn below the threshold of 1,000 signatures needed to make the June 26 ballot.
U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer found Tuesday that Colorado’s residency requirement apparently violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protecting the freedom of political association and speech.
He issued an injunction placing the six-term congressman on the ballot, noting he would likely win the argument at a full trial.
“Consistent with court rulings here in Colorado and around the country, the federal court agreed that the part of Colorado election law that requires petition collectors to be state residents is unconstitutional and unduly infringes on the First Amendment rights of voters and petition circulators,” Lamborn’s campaign spokesman Dan Bayens said in a statement.
Kyle Fisk, a spokesman for the plaintiffs whose initial lawsuit disqualified Lamborn, said they have appealed the latest ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, even though they were not parties to the federal case.
“We are disappointed that a federal (judge) chose to overrule the unanimous decision of the Colorado Supreme Court as well as the will of the people of Colorado as expressed by their elected representatives,” Fisk said.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in a statement that his office was considering an appeal but its primary concern was completing the ballot.
Unless a last-minute appeal is successful, the ballot is scheduled to be finalized Wednesday.
In the primary, Lamborn would face state Sen. Owen Hill, whose supporters filed the lawsuit that had knocked Lamborn off the ballot, and former El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn.