The Minnesota Supreme Court today filed opinions explaining its rulings on which candidates would be on the Nov. 6 ballot after Rep. Kerry Gauthier withdrew from the race.
The DFL Party had the right to add newly endorsed candidate Erik Simonson’s name to the ballot, the Supreme Court said. St. Louis County Auditor Ron Dicklich erred when refusing Gauthier’s withdrawal and the DFL Party’s bid to add its new endorsee, the court said.
On Sept. 25, the court ruled that Gauthier’s name must be replaced as the DFL candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot with that of Erik Simonson. The decision meant that Simonson, who won November’s general election, did not have to run as a write-in candidate.
On Oct. 10, the court denied Jay Fosle’s request to be listed on the ballot, citing arguments made that state statute allows only a major political party to replace a name on the ballot.
Gauthier announced on Aug. 22 that he intended to withdraw from the election after a rest-stop sex encounter with a 17-year-old male was revealed. On Sept. 6 he submitted an affidavit of withdrawal to St. Louis County Auditor Donald Dicklich, who refused to accept it.
Writing in September’s ruling, Chief Justice Lori S. Gildea said that Simonson’s name should replace Gauthier’s. In the interest of time, she said that she was filing the order but delaying an explanation of the ruling.
In the opinion filed today, the justices hold that state law “gives a major political party the authority to fill a vacancy in nomination for a partisan office that was caused by the withdrawal of its originally nominated candidate after the primary.”
“We further hold that the County Auditor erred when he rejected the affidavit of withdrawal that Gautheir attempted to file,” the opinion said. “It is undisputed that were it not for the County Auditor’s rejection of the filing, Gautheir complied with the procedures (outlined in state law) for filing an affidavit of withdrawal. The County Auditor also erred when he rejected the certificate of nomination listing Simonson as the DFL-nominated candidate that the DFL attempted to file after Gauthier attempted to file his affidavit of withdrawal.”
After September’s ruling, Fosle — who, like Simonson, had stepped up as a write-in candidate after Gauthier dropped out of the race — appealed to have his name added to the ballot, saying the court should treat every candidate equally. He was running with no party endorsement.
Like she did with Septmber’s order, Gildea wrote an order rejecting Fosle’s appeal, saying the reasoning behind the decision would come later.
In the opinion filed today, justices noted that state law “requires that candidates for partisan office who do not seek the nomination of a major political party be nominated by petition. … Fosle did not file a nominating petition during the filing period for elective office, which closed in June 2012.”
Read the article: Minnesota Supreme Court: Law allowed Gauthier withdrawal, Simonson addition