Garbett drops her lawsuit, but a GOP legislative candidate is also suing for a spot in the primary

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Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jan Garbett has dropped her bid to appear on the June primary ballot after the state said she only submitted 8,711 valid signatures to qualify for the June primary ballot. That paltry number is a major setback to her legal claim that she would have collected enough signatures to appear on the primary if not for the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, a Republican candidate for legislature joined the lawsuit also hoping to be added to the primary election.

Unsuccessful House candidate Lorraine Brown filed joining Garbett’s lawsuit, claiming she also would have reached the signature threshold for primary ballot inclusion. Brown turned in 982 valid signatures in HD10, just 18 short of the 1000 she needed for inclusion in the June primary. Brown was ousted in at convention by Travis Campbell. Both Brown and Campbell are vying to take on Democrat LaWanna Shurtliff in November. 

Last week Judge Richard Shelby agreed with Garbett’s argument that the coronavirus pandemic cut short the timeframe she had to gather signatures. Shelby gave Garbett another shot at qualifying for the ballot. Instead of 28,000 signatures from registered Republicans, Shelby dropped the threshold for Garbett by 32 percent or just 19,040 signatures.

Garbett’s total number of valid signatures fell far short of the new, lower number. 

On Friday, the state elections office certified to the court that of the 20,597 signatures Garbett’s campaign turned in to the state, only 8,711 were valid, which was an abysmal 42.29 percent rate. Nearly 12 percent of Garbett’s signatures were duplicates of other candidates in the race. 18 percent of those who signed her petition were not registered to vote, while 19 percent were not registered as Republicans. 

Also on Friday, Garbett appealed to the 10th Circuit Court in Denver after Shelby denied her request to lower the signature standard even further. She dropped that appeal on Saturday afternoon.

However, Brown’s attempt to secure a spot on the ballot is pending, as the state argued against her inclusion. The key date is June 6, as that is when the state elections office has to certify the ballot for the June primary election. All of the post-convention results were certified last week except for the governor’s race, which is on hold because of Garbett’s lawsuit. That certification is set to happen next week.

The state argued that allowing Brown to access the ballot at this late date would hamper their ability to run the election in a fair and orderly manner as it could prompt other candidates to come forward seeking a spot on the ballot. Lawyers for the election office also argued Brown waited too long seeking legal relief. Brown has until Monday to respond. 

On Friday a federal judge denied Republican Jeff Burningham’s bid to appear on the primary ballot. Burningham asked the court to lower the number of signatures he needed to participate in the election to just over 13,000.