The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) announced Thursday it filed a complaint against the Virginia State Board of Elections, seeking to disqualify former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) from appearing on the ballot in November.
McAuliffe, who is running for governor again, did not sign his Declaration of Candidacy form, according to a copy of the document published by the RPV, and the group claims the absence of his signature is a violation of both the Virginia Constitution and Virginia Code.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and Terry McAuliffe’s clear violation of the law severely jeopardizes the integrity of our elections in Virginia,” RPV chair Rich Anderson stated.
RPV also contends two individuals, Renzo Olivari of McAuliffe’s communications team and Christian Radden, made “apparent false statements” by signing the form as witnesses to McAuliffe’s candidacy declaration after McAuliffe had not actually signed off on his candidacy.
McAuliffe, a longtime politician, prolific campaign fundraiser, and close ally of the Clintons, served as chair of the Democratic National Committee in the early 2000s, worked for Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign as co-chair, and ran for governor of Virginia twice, losing his race in 2009 and winning in 2013.
RPV assessed that McAuliffe’s deep political roots and “proximity to power” should not allow him to skirt campaign rules.
For decades, Terry has used his political connections and proximity to power to avoid consequences for his reckless behavior and disregard for people and laws, but no amount of political favors and back-slapping can refute the fact that McAuliffe is a fraudulent candidate and cannot be Virginia’s next governor.
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) quipped in a statement Friday, “How could McAuliffe pass up an autograph?” RGA counsel Jessica Johnson wrote on social media, “Will the rules apply to Terry? If he had an election law attorney helping him with this filing, they should be fired”:
If he had an election law attorney helping with this filing, they should be fired. #VApol
— Jessica Furst Johnson (@JessFurst) August 26, 2021
McAuliffe’s campaign dismissed the RPV’s charge as “desperate,” telling the Washington Post, “Our campaign submitted the required paperwork. … This is nothing more than a desperate Trumpian move by the Virginia GOP to deprive voters of a choice in this election because Terry is consistently leading in the polls.”
The outlet also noted election law specialist Michael Gilbert’s assessment of McAuliffe’s missing signature. Gilbert said it “appears to be a clerical error,” adding, “My guess would be this lawsuit doesn’t go anywhere.”
McAuliffe is facing Republican Glenn Youngkin, a former CEO of the Carlyle Group, in the gubernatorial race to replace Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is term-limited and unable to seek reelection. Polls have continued to give McAuliffe a slight edge in the race, but his lead often falls within the polls’ margins of error, signaling the blue-leaning state is gearing up for a competitive faceoff in November.
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