Kentucky GOP Chair threatens Republican primary candidates

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Kentucky GOP Chair threatens Republican primary candidates

Even as Texas Governor and Republican Governors Association Chair Rick Perry encouraged Republican unity in the Kentucky gubernatorial race, saying that “there are those out there who will say 2010 was a fluke” and that Kentucky Republicans need to “send a strong message across this country that 2010 was real,” the Chair of the Kentucky GOP began threatening Tea Party-backed Republican candidates.

Phil Moffett and John T. Kemper III, Republican candidates for Governor and Auditor, respectively, had signed a petition which would allow Libertarian Party candidate for State Treasurer Ken Moellman a place on the ballot.

Republicans and Democrats do not need to collect signatures to appear on the ballot, but other parties must under Kentucky state law. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” Moffett said. “We’re all Kentuckians. We’re all citizens. And we should all have equal access.”

Kentucky GOP Chair Steve Robertson has threatened to have both candidates removed from the ballot if they win the primary, using a provision of Kentucky election law. Candidates for election in a primary must sign a statement saying they “intend to support its principles and policies” of their party. Robertson alleges that signing a petition allowing another candidate to run for office violates this oath.

If upheld by the courts, his challenge would enable the second-place finisher to take the nomination. Should Moffett or Kemper win, the likely runners up would be candidates favored by party leaders such as Robertson.

“When it comes to competition, Mr. Robertson’s views appear closer to Karl Marx than Adam Smith,” said Free & Equal chair Christina Tobin. “How ironic that he would cite the principles of the Republican Party, while opposing a free market in ideas.”

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Free & Equal is a nonpartisan, non-profit public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to election reform and improving ballot access laws in the United States.