Rep. Doug Lamborn Appears to be Finished

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is hosed.

As the Denver Post reports, incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is about to get retired:

Six-term U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs should not be on the Republican primary ballot this year, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The ruling finds in favor of a lawsuit that contended Lamborn didn’t properly petition his way onto the ballot…

…A lower court earlier this month largely sided with Lamborn that he had enough signatures to be on the ballot, but the opposition appealed, leading to the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled a circulator for Lamborn’s campaign did not meet the state’s residency test and the signatures he collected from voters are “invalid and may not be considered.” Without the signatures, Lamborn fell short of the 1,000 needed to make the ballot, the court ruled.

This is a surprising turn of events for Lamborn, if only because recent history has shown that Colorado courts tend to rule on the side of ballot access in disputes over petition signatures. We would imagine that Lamborn’s campaign will do whatever it can to appeal this decision, but he may be out of luck. Marshall Zelinger of 9News happened to catch this reaction from state Sen. Owen Hill, one of two Republican candidates challenging for Lamborn’s seat:

60 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Realistically, isn't Hill likely to be worse than Lamborn?  

  2. unnamed says:

    Doug:  See ya!!!  Wouldn't wanna be ya!!!   Smell ya!!!  Shouldn't have to tell ya!!!

  3. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    He well may not be done yet.  There's a ruling from the 10th Circuit back in 2008: Yes on Term Limits, Inc. v. Savage

    In OkeyDokey, at the time, petition circulators had to swear they were "electors" (an elector being "all citizens of the United States, over the age of eighteen (18) years, who are bona fide residents of this state").  The court found the ban against nonresident circulators to violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.  They ruled similarly on a case in Arvada (Chandler v. City of Arvada, 292 F.3d 1236, 1240 (10th Cir. 2002)).  The one caveat being that these folks were circulating initiative petitions, rather than candidate petitions.

    The court in Yes on Term Limits spoke about the importance of the First Amendment right to "seek by petition to achieve political change," and I don't see the ability to have your candidate on the ballot as serving some lesser ideal.  I'd wait a week or two, if I were Owen Hill, before I started buying copies of Fountainhead for everyone.

    • Would the petition gatherer falsely swearing as to residency count as an override?

      • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

        Maybe?  I'd have to wonder, though, if the court would get fired up about people violating a restriction that never should have existed, assuming everything else was done correctly.  Also, that would mean preventing voters from having the chance to vote for an incumbent who they wanted on the ballot, which they might also want to avoid.

        • Falsely swearing under penalty of law would fall under the court's "narrow tailoring" for prevention of fraud even if the residency requirement didn't IMHO. Kennedy might have a case that their services fall under Yes on Term Limits, but they have other problems if their petitioners falsely affirme residency. (And in this case, Kennedy appears to have abetted that attempt…)

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      It would be a fitting end to his career.  He will be defined by his bumbling incompetence.

  4. RepealAndReplace says:

    Why did he not go caucus/assembly route?

  5. ohwilleke says:

    Two questions/observations:

    1. Who did the 5th CD GOP Assembly put on the ballot?

    Did both Owen Hill and Daryl Glenn make it on the ballot by that route? Did Lamborn not even try to take that route? What about Bill Rhea and Tyler Stevens? http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/primaryCandidates.html

    2. The Colorado Supreme Court reserved the possibility that a constitutional challenge could be made on a non-expedited basis.

    The full text of the ruling is:

    https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2018/18SA176.pdf

  6. ohwilleke says:

    "If the ruling is upheld, Lamborn won't be able to run as a write-in candidate in the primary, though he could run as a write-in for the general election, Bartels said."

    https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/six-term-congressman-doug-lamborn-should-be-off-2018-primary-ballot-colorado-supreme-court-rules

  7. ohwilleke says:

    If there are four candidates on the GOP 5th CD primary ballot, none incumbents, all sorts of quirky things could happen.

    Many voters will receive their ballots not knowing that Lamborn is not on the ballot and having done no research on the alternatives and may write in Lamborn (futilely) or may not vote for anyone.

    Also, there will be the unknown effect of allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in the primary this year.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      We've seen this before. Remember Lamborn's first run in 2006? There were seven candidates in the running including Jeff Crank, Lionel Rivera, Bentley Rayburn, and a former sheriff of El Paso County. (Not the shirtless one. Someone who kept all his clothes on.) There were so many running, Lamborn got nominated as a plurality winner.

      Of course, the anti-Lamborn Republicans learned nothing because two years later, they did it again with multiple challengers. 

      It looked like this year would be the same – Daryl Glenn, Owen Hill, a Texas judge and the Green Mountain mayor – except Lamborn surprised them all by knocking himself off the primary ballot.

      Lamborn now has lame duck-like qualities….

  8. Genghis says:

    We emphasize at the outset the narrow nature of our review under section 1-1-113. We do not address the Lamborn Campaign’s arguments challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s circulator residency requirement because such claims exceed this court’s jurisdiction in a section 1-1-113 action. We therefore express no opinion on the constitutionality of the residency requirement in section 1-4-905(1), C.R.S. (2017).

    That likely means we can look forward to a hastily slapped-together declaratory judgment action in state and/or federal district court. Let the good times roll.

  9. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Lots of dormant Dems down here. Don’t let this historic opportunity pass. 

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      But are they pure enough for you? What if some of them are DLC-types and DINOs ?

      • unnamed says:

        Nobody understands Ahab.  <snark>

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          I do – most of the time. We agree that policy matters more than the labels attached – you can have a bought-off Dem or a Republican with integrity – although those are getting rarer these days. And we do have to have power (politics – the D vs R horse race) in order to actualize policy (truth, justice, and the American Way).

          I agree with most of what Zap says – I just don't feel a need to be heavily negative or provocative, nor to endlessly repeat myself.

  10. DavieDavie says:

    Corey Hutchins has a detailed follow up in the Colorado Independent:

    The Supreme Court noted that one of the signature gatherers for Lamborn earlier testified that he owned two cars in California, works there, was registered to vote there, had a driver’s license there— and not in Colorado— and bought a round-trip plane ticket to Colorado where he stayed with his in-laws while gathering petition signatures for Lamborn.

    The Secretary of State’s office indicated the congressman could ask a federal court to weigh in and try to get him on the ballot. 

    But, “that’s going to be hard,” says Mario Nicolais, who practices election law in Colorado. He says he doubts a federal court would step in and get in the way of a ruling on legal residency by the state’s highest court.

    “I don’t think you could find any more clear set of facts that would demonstrate that someone was not a resident of Colorado,” Nicolais says.

    Lamborn told media he was still processing the ruling in the initial hours after it came out.

    Is that toast I smell burning?

    • I personally liked the note in the opinion that stated that the man gave his deposition to the district court remotely because he was closing on a house – in California. (To be honest, that's his current job – flipping houses – but still, being out-of-state on a hearing date to determine your residency because you're buying a house?)

    • A Federal Court might intervene, but it wouldn't be to overrule our residency requirements. Our Circuit Court doesn't seem to like residency requirements, for initiatives anyway. But in this case residency is for the purpose of partisan registration qualification requirements… If the courts venture too far down that path, we wind up with anyone being able to circulate and sign petitions for any party.

  11. scarter says:

    The conservative mantra is to outsource everything, including apparently collecting petition signatures.  Looks like it bit them.  Sad.  cool

  12. Sounds like Lamborn will challenge the residency (and hence party affiliation) requirement in Federal court…

  13. skeptical citizen says:

    Dougie should have a future in the revolving door Trump administration that prefers incompetence.

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