The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia alleges violations of the Republican Party’s constitutional rights arising from operation of Virginia’s Incumbent Protection Act.[read_more]
As expected, the Republican Committee with oversight of Sen. Emmett Hanger’s 24th Senate District wasted no time in filing to block the Augusta County Senator’s designation of a primary as the method of nomination for that seat. Hanger made such a designation on Tuesday, just before the deadline. Because Virginia law (section 24.2-509) gives incumbent members of the General Assembly the ability to designate a nomination method for their own seat, regardless of their political party’s preferences, opponents of the law regard it as an imposition on the party’s freedoms of association and speech, particularly when the method chosen by the incumbent is a state-run open primary that allows non-member participation in the party’s nomination process.
The complaint (embedded in full below) is styled as a Section 1983 civil rights action, and alleges among other things that allowing someone who does not speak for the Party (i.e., Sen. Hanger) to make a choice for the Party as a whole constitutes a violation of the Party’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
In distributing the complaint to members of the 24th Senate District Republican Committee, Chairman Ken Adams had the following to say:
To the Members, Officers and Convention Planners for SD 24,
At 3:00 pm this afternoon, I delivered a Complaint to the United States District Court in Harrisonburg. A copy of the Complaint is attached.
I am absolutely convinced that the filing of a Federal lawsuit signals the demise of the unconstitutional law that we call the Incumbent Protection Act.
We did not need anyone to draw up a plan for us. We did not need any celebrity endorsements. And, we did not need the approval of the media.
What we needed was Big Vision and Courage, and we had those things in abundance.
Now, we will duke it out in court. It will be a spectacular legal battle. Most of those who follow the Commonwealth’s law and political news will be transfixed by the events in Harrisonburg.
When it is all over, I believe that Virginia will be free from an unconstitutional law that distorts the election process.
You are an inspiring group of Virginians. You have shown others that great things can be accomplished when people have Big Vision and Courage.
My profound compliments to you.
The full complaint can be found below.