The Virginia Republican Party announced Thursday that it’s filing a lawsuit to get Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe off the ballot for November, alleging he failed to sign a candidacy declaration form.
According to the state GOP, the declaration of candidacy document includes the signatures of McAuliffe’s press secretary Renzo Olivari and aide Christian Radden confirming they witnessed McAuliffe sign the form, but does not include the candidate’s signature.
Virginia GOP Chairman Rich Anderson said in a statement that the lack of McAuliffe’s signature “severely jeopardizes the integrity of our elections in Virginia.”
“No amount of political favors and back-slapping can refute the fact that McAuliffe is a fraudulent candidate and cannot be Virginia’s next governor,” Anderson said.
McAuliffe’s communications director dismissed the lawsuit as a “desperate Trumpian move.”
“Our campaign submitted the required paperwork,” Christina Freundlich said in a tweet.
“This is nothing more than a desperate Trumpian move by the Virginia GOP to deprive voters of a choice in this election because Terry is consistently leading in the polls.”
The lawsuit comes hours after a new Christopher Newport University poll showed Virginia Democrats up and down the ballot leading Republicans in their respective races.
While it’s unclear what will happen with the GOP lawsuit, the question over paperwork would not be the first time a filing error impacted a race in Virginia. In 2019, Del. Nick Freitas’s (R) campaign failed to file two forms with the state elections office on time, resulting in Freitas having to run as a write-in. He ultimately won with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Republicans across the country have sparked backlash since the 2020 election for their efforts to rewrite election laws, moves that critics say are an attempt to sow doubt on the election process following former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump accuses Jan. 6 panel of trying to distract Judge orders sanctions against Sidney Powell, Lin Wood in Michigan election challenge House probe focuses on Trump’s mental health and martial law MORE‘s loss to President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: Progressives can be successful candidates on ‘small-dollar donations’ Trump accuses Jan. 6 panel of trying to distract Overnight Defense & National Security — Breakneck evacuations continue as Biden mulls deadline MORE.
Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin established an “Election Integrity Task Force” in February before winning the Republican nomination for governor. He said the task force is designed to establish legal voting standards in election processes.