By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, AP political writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Conservative radio host Larry Elder has filed a lawsuit against California election officials’ decision to bar him from running in the September 14 recall election, saying he is the target of “shenanigans Policies of the Sacramento Democrats.
The former Republican said in a statement on Monday evening that he had completed all the documents necessary to qualify for the election that could impeach Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, including more than 300 pages of tax returns needed to become a candidate . But the secretary of state’s office did not include Elder on a preliminary list of 41 candidates released last weekend, saying he had filed incomplete information on the statements related to drafting issues.
Elder’s campaign said he filed a lawsuit Monday seeking an order from the Superior Court of the State of Sacramento requiring Secretary of State Shirley Weber to include Elder as a candidate on the final certified list of candidates, which is expected to be released on Wednesday.
“We have complied with everything the Secretary of State demanded of us,” said Elder, a popular right-wing political voice whose program is broadcast nationally. “The politicians in Sacramento know that I am the only candidate who can beat Gavin Newsom. They’re scared, and they use any shenanigans they can to try to trip me up. It won’t work.
“Frankly, this action by the Secretary of State is not just unfair and absurd, but a dangerous and unconstitutional precedent,” said Elder, who is also a lawyer.
Weber’s office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.
Elder faces a narrow window of time for the court to make a change. With less than two months before the elections, local election officials are already organizing the printing of ballot papers. Mail-in ballots will be sent out next month.
Other Republicans who qualified to run included former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, reality TV personality and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, businessman John Cox, who was beaten by Newsom in 2018, and state lawmaker Kevin Kiley.
The Elder campaign argued that under state law Weber has the power, if not the duty, to “correct” any editorial errors for the public. Additionally, the campaign said Weber’s office failed to notify Elder of its specific objections to filing his tax returns, and by denying voters the ability to choose Elder on the ballot, Weber ‘s’ actually engaged in the suppression of voters ”.
The campaign also said Weber’s decision violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution because Newsom did not have to comply with the same tax returns.
“I am fighting a legal battle to present myself as the candidate of Californians who are tired of the partisanship and entrenched interests of Sacramento. I fully expect to be on the final certified list of candidates, ”Elder said in a statement.
Voters will receive a ballot with two questions: whether Newsom should be recalled and who should replace him. If more than half of voters say “yes” to the first question, then whoever is on the list of potential replacements gets the most votes is the new governor of the most populous state in the country. With many candidates and no clear favorites, it is possible that someone will win with less than 25% of the vote.
Much of the pressure to oust Newsom is rooted in frustration over long-standing school and business closures during the pandemic that disrupted the daily lives of millions of Californians.
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