March 22, 2016

Here’s why candidates were disqualified from the ballot



Friday marked the final day to challenge filing documents for candidates around the state ahead of the June primaries.

Photo Credit: bjmccray cc


Photo Credit: bjmccray cc

In all,  the reasons for ten disqualifications for candidates range from simply not getting enough signatures to breaking campaign finance rules.

Amy Bailey, legal counsel for the Secretary of State’s office, told NM Political Report that her office went through any evidence brought to them before each candidate was qualified.

“The candidates that brought us what they purported to be evidence we checked,” Bailey said.

“We didn’t go through and check all the petitions.”

Prospective candidates who found themselves disqualified still have a chance to challenge the disqualification, but they must file a challenge it in district court. They have ten days after the initial disqualification to challenge

Here are the candidates who will have to file a challenge if they want to run.

Not enough signatures

Each candidate is required to gather a certain number of signatures to officially become a candidate. The number of signatures required varies for each party in each district depending on vote totals in previous elections.

Republican Tamara Gedde who filed to run for state House District 59 was disqualified as a candidate for not having enough signatures. This seat is currently held by Nora Espinoza who announced she would not run for reelection. Espinoza instead threw her hat in the ring for Secretary of State. With Gedde out, there is still one Republican and one Democrat running to replace Espinoza.

Jeremy Ryan Tremko was originally disqualified because of a lack of signatures, but according to Bailey, Tremko has since proven that he did get the correct amount of signatures. Bailey said the Secretary of State is “exploring the legal options to address this situation as there is not statutory authority for the SOS to qualify a candidate after the deadline to qualify.”

He is the only Republican running for House District 50, which is currently held by Democrat Matthew McQueen. Andrew Homer, a Democrat also running for McQueen’s spot was also disqualified for a lack of signatures.

Inconsistency with forms

Both Dell Washington and Korman Crone’s addresses on their filing paperwork did not match their voter registration on record. Washington is one of two Democrats who filed to run against Republican Speaker of the House Don Tripp in House District 49. Unless Washington files a challenge, Democrat Conrad Guajardo will face Tripp in the general election.

Crone filed to run  for the Public Education Commission as a Democrat but left his address  completely vacant when he was disqualified. Crone was the only candidate to file to run.

Now a third or minor party candidate can file to run after the primary.

The Secretary of State disqualified Democrat Russell Stephen First as a candidate due an alteration to his petition. A spokesman for the Bernalillo County Clerk said there was whiteout over First’s name and alterations to forms is not allowed.

Campaign Finance

Louis Tafoya, a Republican from House District 26, and Sandra Jeff, a Democrat from Senate District 22, both saw themselves disqualified for campaign finance violations. It’s unclear specifically what the violations were.

NM Political Report spoke to Jeff after her name appeared on the list of disqualified candidates. She said she had not decided whether or not to challenge the disqualification, and said she may run for U.S. Representative in the state’s 3rd district or for Navajo Nation president.

More than one race

Republican Jerald Steve McFall originally filed to run for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District, currently held by U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan, but later also filed to run against two Democrats in state House District 40, including the incumbent Nick Salazar.