CARSON CITY -- The Independent American Party of Nevada has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court that challenges the right of Scott Ashjian, the Tea Party candidate for U.S. Senate, to appear on the November election ballot.
"If Ashjian can get on the ballot by just lying, there is no integrity in the election process when other candidates and parties have to work so hard for ballot access," IAP state Chairman John Wagner said Thursday.
Wagner's party lost a District Court case to try to remove Ashjian's name from the ballot on the grounds he was still a registered Republican when he filed March 2 as the Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate.
District Judge James Todd Russell ruled April 14 that Ashjian could be a candidate even though he had admitted in court that he did not change his registration to the Tea Party of Nevada until three hours after he filed his Senate candidacy.
"A technical sequential filing of documents should not control, but an overall good faith attempt to comply should control," Russell decided.
The IAP filed its appeal Wednesday of Russell's ruling.
Ashjian did not return repeated calls Thursday for comment, but earlier he said he did not try to mislead voters and Russell "saw right through" technical arguments of the IAP.
IAP lawyer Joel Hansen compared what Ashjian did with someone who gets married before he has gotten a divorce from his current wife.
"You get married in the morning when you are already married and then that afternoon you get a divorce from your first wife," Hansen said. "That is called bigamy."
Hansen said when Ashjian made a false statement by stating he was a Tea Party member when he filed his candidacy. As a consequence, his name should have been stricken from the ballot.
Ashjian is a member of the Tea Party that was created earlier this year though petitions submitted by residents, including members of his family.
But Debbie Landis of the Reno-based Action is Brewing organization joined the lawsuit against his candidacy. She has organized Tea Party events around the state and said Ashjian has not been active in the movement.
Ashjian contends he filed for office because people who hold Tea Party values have been duped by the Republican Party.
Contact reporter Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.