Indiana High Court Considers Senate Candidates’ Challenge to Limit Who Can Seek Party Nominations

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on the state’s challenge to a lower court ruling that would allow a man to run for one of the U.S. Senate seats state as a Republican, even though the state Republican Party does not support his candidacy. candidacy.

A state law says a candidate’s final two primary ballots must be filed with their affiliated party or the county party chair must approve the candidacy, but farmers John Rust challenged the law and a lower court ruled in his favor, granting him a temporary injunction allowing him to run in the May primary as a Republican.

Rust, the former president of egg supplier Rose Acre Farms, seeks to replace him Senator Mike Braunwho leaves his seat to run for governor.

Rust voted as a Republican in the 2016 primary, but as a Democrat in 2012. He said he did not vote in the 2020 Republican primary due to the pandemic and the lack of competitive Republican races in County. Jackson, and that his Democratic votes were for people he knew personally.

The chair of the county Republican Party said in a July meeting with Rust that she would not certify him, according to the lawsuit. Rust said she later cited her primary voting record.

Rust filed suit in September against Secretary of State Diego Morales, the Indiana Election Commission and Jackson County Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Lowery challenging the law. Rust officially filed an application with the office on Feb. 5 to run as a Republican, according to state records.

The five justices of the Indiana Supreme Court questioned lawyers Monday about the state’s interest in regulating primary candidates.

Rust’s attorney, Michelle Harter, said the law wrongly gives the state the power to carry out the work of a political party.

Benjamin Jones, representing Morales, said candidates are not allowed to affiliate with a party. He said Rust can still run in the general election as an independent or write-in candidate if he is blocked from the Republican ballot.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush wondered if…

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