First he was off, now he’s back on again. I’m talking about 8th CD Democratic challenger Bruce Shuttleworth, who the Alexandria News reports has now been certified to appear on the June 12 primary ballot against Rep. Jim Moran. According to the Alexandria News:
The Eighth District Democratic Committee discovered a number of signatures on petitions, which had not been previously certified although they were submitted on time and meet the criteria of a qualifying signature. Based on this new information, the Committee concluded that Shuttleworth has the required 1000 signatures to be on the June 12, ballot as a Democratic candidate for Congress.
Meanwhile, Shuttleworth had filed a lawsuit, which the Washington Post reports had “not yet” been withdrawn as of “Monday evening.” Shuttleworth reportedly had filed 1,823 signatures initially, with his lawsuit claiming that “party officials ‘erroneously and unlawfully invalidated over 800 signatures, including many valid signatures of registered voters’ in the 8th district.”
From what I’m hearing, it appears that 8th CD Democratic Chair Margo Horner arranged to collect Shuttleworth’s petitions a couple times before the deadline, but both times the Shuttleworth folks didn’t show up. In the end, the Shuttleworth campaign submitted its signatures the morning of the day they were due. That’s perfectly fine, as it’s prior to the deadline; the only reason I mention this is to make clear that 8th CD chair Margo Horner didn’t do anything wrong – in fact it sounds like she did everything right – with regard to making multiple efforts to collect the petition forms from the Shuttleworth campaign, then working with the registrars to verify the names.
What happened after that, apparently, is that the various jurisdictions within the 8th CD reported back with their assessments as to whether signatures were valid or not. What I’m hearing is that the Fairfax County registrar seems to have missed some, and that they were caught – and counted – after a review/double check by the Arlington County registrar’s office. Thus, Bruce Shuttleworth is now on the ballot, with 1,000+ valid signatures as required. Nothing nefarious here, it would appear, despite some chatter to the contrary.
Finally, it’s worth noting that numerous signatures for Shuttleworth were thrown out because they were collected by a non-Virginia resident (Shuttleworth’s campaign manager). That’s the law, for better or (mostly) worse, but it’s worth pointing out that in the court ruling against Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman, who were attempting to get on the Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot, the judge stated strongly and clearly that the residency requirement would “likely be declared unconstitutional,” given First Amendment guarantees of “political speech.” The fact that Bruce Shuttleworth’s campaign manager is from Maryland should not have caused the signatures he collected to be disqualified, but unfortunately, that’s Virginia law right now. Ugh.
P.S. Also worth noting is that an outside “Super PAC” – one that Jim Moran’s Chief of Staff, Austin Durrer, points out is “heavily fueled by Texas oil money and right wing conservatives” – is apparently prepared to pour in god-knows-how-much $$$ against Jim Moran. That’s definitely NOT what democracy looks like, and I encourage everyone to treat these ads with all the respect they deserve. Zero, that is.