Unafiliated state representative will have to run as write-in candidate
June 25, 2010
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Colorado’s only unaffiliated state lawmaker will have to run as a write-in candidate this fall after losing a federal lawsuit challenging election rules.
Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison joined in a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring unaffiliated candidates to be registered for 17 months to petition onto the ballot. The official wait time for Republicans and Democrats is 12 months, but parties can shorten that.
U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger ruled against Curry on Wednesday. She said political parties only have latitude to change dates for candidates nominated through the assembly process and that party members who petition onto the ballot essentially face the same wait time as unaffiliated candidates. Krieger said looser rules for independent candidates could lead to sham candidacies and lead to voter confusion.
“While I am disappointed in the ruling, I very much respect the court and its decision and will move forward accordingly,” Curry said.
She faces both Republican Luke Korkowski and Democrat Roger Wilson in November’s election.
Curry left the Democratic Party to become unaffiliated in December. She later joined a lawsuit filed by La Plata County commissioner Joelle Riddle, who also switched from Democrat to unaffiliated too late petition onto the ballot under her new affiliation.
Colorado is one of eight states to require that independent candidates show they haven’t been affiliated with a party for a certain length of time.
At 17 months, Colorado has the longest wait time of all those states, according to legislative analysts.