Colorado Supreme Court rules Lamborn signatures invalid, kicking him off primary ballot

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The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that the signatures the six-term congressman submitted to run for re-election were invalid because the people he hired to gather those signatures were not Colorado residents, as required by state law.

Lamborn doesn't have another way of getting on the ballot, as the state Republican assembly has already passed.

"Today, the Supreme Court has unanimously overturned the District Court ruling and declared that Mr. [Ryan] Tipple [a petition circulator] was not a resident of Colorado and, therefore, ineligible to collect petition signatures", Francisco said.

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert said the Colorado Supreme Court "just provided an avenue to have a federal judge strike the residency requirement for candidate circulators".

"There are multiple options they have in the primary election that they can consider, and of course, I believe we all want people to follow the law and play by the same set of rules, and so if somebody breaks the rules, this is the natural outcome of that", said Francisco. But a group of Republican activists sued, pointing out that at least one of Lamborn's petition gatherers had paid California taxes in 2017 and did not fully reside in Colorado.

The High Court noted that as "a practical matter, the Secretary's office is not equipped to further investigate residency or other requirements" after doing a paper review of a petition circulator's voter registration.

Lamborn, first elected in 2006, has faced primary challengers in nearly every campaign, holding off Republicans who usually challenged him from the center-right, saying he had been an ineffective representative for central Colorado. Lamborn last faced a primary election in 2008.

Lamborn told media he was still processing the ruling in the initial hours after it came out. The court is allowed to apply a more lenient standard - known as substantial compliance - than the secretary's office. After allegations that his circulators might have gathered petitions fraudulently, Stapleton ditched his petition effort and made a decision to go through the assembly, likely escaping his own lawsuit over ballot access.

Lamborn campaign spokesman Dan Bayens said the congressman would challenge the decision.

By dropping his petition effort and acknowledging fraud, Stapleton risked his candidacy at the GOP state assembly, but he got through with about 44 percent of the vote. Glenn had announced a primary challenge to Lamborn late a year ago. The signatures in question were verified by the Secretary of State's office, but another candidate who used the company's services said Kennedy had been "involved in misconduct" and needed to be held accountable.

Stephany Rose Spaulding is the Democratic nominee for the seat.