Virginia Republican Party Seeks To Disqualify Democratic Nominee For Governor Terry McAuliffe In New Lawsuit

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The Virginia Republican Party (RPV) filed a lawsuit Thursday in an effort to disqualify Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Terry McAuliffe from his candidacy in the Nov. 2 general election.

After a primary election, Virginia state law requires a candidate to file a Declaration of Candidacy to the Virginia State Board of Elections provided with signatures by the nominee and either a notary or two witnesses, according to the lawsuit. The state’s GOP filed suit against the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) and the Virginia Department of Elections for allowing McAuliffe to run for governor after his Declaration allegedly lacked his required signature and had false witnesses.

“McAuliffe’s Declaration, lacking his signature and falsely signed by two purported witnesses, is plainly in violation of Virginia law and should have been rejected by the Board and Department of Elections,” the document said. “The omission of McAuliffe’s signature from his Declaration, compounded by false witness attestations, is fatal to his candidacy under Virginia law.”

The witnesses on McAuliffe’s declaration are named Renzo Olivari and Christian Radden, according to the suit. Olivari reportedly serves as a Communications member for the nominee and Radden reportedly has had a notable political history with Democratic candidates, including being on the payroll of President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. (RELATED: Unions Reward $2.2 Million To Terry McAuliffe’s Campaign After Changing His Stance On Right-To-Work Laws)

The suit seeks for the Court to declare the SBE’s acceptance of McAuliffe’s nomination and the Dept. of Elections certification of his nomination “invalid” and to ensure that his name will not appear on the ballot. The RPV said Republican Virginia Gubernatorial Nominee Glenn Youngkin will likely face several obstacles due to his opponent being an “illegitimate candidate.”

“If McAuliffe-a punitive candidate whose place on the ballot has been obtained by misrepresentation, false statements, and incomplete certification procedures, and who cannot meet the minimum standards for ballot qualification under Virginia law-is listed on the ballot for Governor in November, the RPV and its candidate for Governor will suffer concrete injury because it must divert funds and other resources to counter the candidacy of an illegitimate candidate in the contest who, as a matter of law, should not be on the ballot,” the RPV said in the suit.

Christina Freundlich, McAuliffe’s communication’s director, called the RPV’s suit a “Trumpian move” aimed at barring voters from electing the Democratic nominee.

“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,” Freundlich said on Twitter.

Rich Anderson, the RPV Chairman, said in a statement that this clear violation of Virginia’s election laws “severely jeopardizes” election integrity.

“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,” Anderson said. “For decades, Terry has used his political connections and proximity to power to avoid consequences for his reckless behavior and disregard for people and law, 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 Democratic nominee served as governor from 2014-18, when Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated him in the 2017 election. Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Lawrence Douglas Wilder alleged in July that although he did not violate state law, McAuliffe violated the state’s informal precedent that establishes that a former governor does not run for reelection.

Youngkin established an “Election Integrity Task Force” in February prior to his May 10 nomination victory, according to The Hill.