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Independents, Green Candidate Make Final Appeal for Ballot Access in Montana Special Election

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Green Party candidate Thomas Breck's emergency motion requesting injunctive relief to be on the ballot in the special election to fill Montana's only congressional seat. Now, Breck is taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Breck's campaign released the following press release Tuesday:

On Monday April 17th the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Montana Green Party candidate, Thomas Breck’s, emergency motion requesting injunctive relief by adding him to the May 25th Special Election ballot. In response to this ruling, Thomas Breck, and Independent candidates Steve Kelly and Doug Campbell, will be pursuing further legal action by filing an emergency application for an injunction by the Supreme Court Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Breck’s campaign stated, “We are disappointed in the failure of the Ninth Circuit Court to issue an injunction requiring the Montana Secretary of State to add the Montana Green Party’s candidate, Thomas Breck, to the special election ballot. It is the constitutional right of each American to be given the opportunity to vote for a candidate that represents their ideals.  We believe that for many Montanans this candidate is Thomas Breck. As such, it is our duty to these voters to continue our effort to obtain the ballot access that was denied us on the basis of an unconstitutional state law.”

On April 8, federal Judge Brian Morris ruled that the ballot access barrier for Montana's special election, which kept two independents -- Steve Kelly and Doug Campbell -- and Breck off the ballot was unconstitutional.

Morris granted an injunction that reduced the number of required signatures from over 14,000 to 400. However, no additional candidates were added to the ballot, not even Breck who surpassed the 400 signature requirement.

It was a bittersweet victory for third party and independent candidates.

Currently, there are three candidates to fill the seat left open after Ryan Zinke became secretary of the Interior: Republican Greg Gianforte, Democrat Rob Quist, and Libertarian Mark Wicks. The special election will be held on May 25.

Photo Source: Texas Monthly

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