Romney Might Be Ineligible For Washington State Ballot

The Republican Party is under attack lately by its own ineptitude. Not only is the California GOP virtually non-existent as a political force, and the national party is having fundraising issues, but now it turns out that the Republicans might be ineligible to run a candidate for President in the state of Washington this year.

According to Washington State Law, WAC-434-215-165:

Nominations for president and vice-president by major political parties are conducted at each party’s national convention. Immediately following the convention, each party must submit a certificate of nomination and list of electors to the secretary of state in order to place the nominees on the presidential general election ballot.

Pretty straight forward. That is, until you check on the laws regarding what a major political party in fact is, as found in RCW 29A.04.086:

“Major political party” means a political party of which at least one nominee for president, vice president, United States senator, or a statewide office received at least five percent of the total vote cast at the last preceding state general election in an even-numbered year. A political party qualifying as a major political party under this section retains such status until the next even-year election at which a candidate of that party does not achieve at least five percent of the vote for one of the previously specified offices. If none of these offices appear on the ballot in an even-year general election, the major party retains its status as a major party through that election. However, a political party of which no nominee received at least ten percent of the total vote cast may forgo its status as a major political party by filing with the secretary of state an appropriate party rule within sixty days of attaining major party status under this section, or within fifteen days of June 10, 2004, whichever is later

The last state general election in an even-numbered year was 2010, which had only a single statewide office up for grabs, the US Senate seat. In 2010, the Republicans put no candidates forward for the Senate seat, and did not run a state primary for 2010. While Republican Dino Rossi was on the ballot, he was put there as a result of a non-party run-off, called a winnowing primary, and not through a state party primary or convention.

By not holding a primary for the sole statewide office up in 2010, the Republican Party appears to not meet the qualifications for being a major political party. And if not, the rules for minor parties, including the deadlines, would apply, and the last deadline for the Republicans to file and have Romney on the ballot passed three weeks ago.

This has not gone unnoticed by the Libertarian Party, which filed a lawsuit to enforce the states existing statues. Do note, the Washington Secretary of State did put forth a bill proposal which would have changed the statute to a simpler metric, having at least 5% of the vote in the earlier election, but that measure failed to pass through the state legislature.

The Stranger, a local Seattle newspaper, has been covering this story since the deadline passed at the beginning of the month. They are aiming to keep tabs on the Libertarian Parties lawsuit as well.

This is not the first bit of this election where the Libertarians are flexing their muscle. Their candidate Gary Johnson is polling strong against the Republican candidate Mitt Romney in New Mexico and they seem ready to capitalize on the GOP’s weakness elsewhere. Sadly, as ever, the Libertarians seem to lack any coördination, being unable to even name their own candidates for office on the national website beyond the Presidential. It is not too late for them to get their acts together, of course, but with less than 90 days left to the election, the clock is ticking down.

AI shall keep following this story as it evolves.

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