The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Republican incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn cannot appear on the fifth congressional district’s primary ballot.
According to Politico, the court found that a Lamborn campaign worker tasked with gathering signatures required in order to qualify for the ballot did not live in Colorado at the time, and as a result, all the signatures gathered by the petitioner were rendered invalid, which pushed Lamborn below the threshold for ballot access in his district.
“Therefore, the supreme court holds that the Secretary [of State] may not certify Representative Lamborn to the 2018 primary ballot for Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District,” the court ruled.
Lamborn, who has been in Congress for six terms, is reportedly unsure of how to handle the news, telling reporters at the Denver Post that his team is still “digesting the opinion” and “still looking at the language.”
Am attorney for Lamborn’s campaign, Ryan Call, said the Congressman intends to file a federal appeal to strike the residency requirement language.
“We believe, quite frankly, denying a sitting congressman the right to participate in a primary election where the residency of the circulator denies the otherwise valid petition signatures is unconstitutional,” Call told Politico. “We intend to file an action in federal district court, and there are a number of cases that find that the residency requirement for circulators as unconstitutional.”
While currently locked out of the ballot, Lamborn is just 58 signatures short of the ballot rule and could challenge the court ruling. His campaign has a fair amount of cash on hand compared to the two other GOP primary challengers, and won the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
Regardless of Lamborn’s eligibility, Colorado’s fifth congressional district is likely to remain a Republican stronghold. Lamborn defeated his most recent Democratic challenger by more than 30 points in 2016, and the district voted for President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 24-point margin.
Lamborn is a staunch Republican who was called the most conservative member of Congress by the National Journal. He was notably the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation that did not support protecting the state’s marijuana laws from the federal government.