Usually, a candidate withdrawing from a race is a fairly anodyne event. Tuesday’s withdrawal of Matthew Pfaadt was anything but.
Pfaadt filed to run as a Dem in House District 29 against the incumbent, Kevin Bratcher. This was after the original candidate, Suzanne Kugler, was drawn out of the district by the Republicans in Frankfort.
Pfaadt was registered as a Republican in 2021, but switched his registration to Democrat in January of this year. BUT – the last day to switch your registration before filing was December 31.
So, Kevin Bratcher and his lawyer, Jason Nemes, sued to get Pfaadt off the ballot. Okay, that’s understandable – if Pfaadt is disqualified, and there is no other candidate put in his place, Bratcher runs unopposed.
Most people would have understood that a first-time candidate can make a newbie mistake like this through ignorance, and if the candidate offers to withdraw, that would be the end of it.
But, Bratcher and Nemes weren’t satisfied. They wanted a hearing, and they wanted Pfaadt to pay attorney’s fees. So, they filed a motion for a formal hearing.
Anna Whites, Pfaadt’s lawyer, then told the judge that Pfaadt would be withdrawing, there was no need for a hearing, and therefore no attorney’s fees needed to be paid. The judge agreed to that as settling the case.
Tuesday morning, Bratcher and Nemes fought the settlement, saying it wasn’t good enough – they wanted Pfaadt to be formally disqualified by the judge.
They didn’t get their wish; Pfaadt withdrew, and assuming the judge accepts Whites’s motion to dismiss the Bratcher/Nemes request, Pfaadt’s part of the saga will be over.
But wait – there’s more!
The Louisville / Jefferson County Democratic Party has found a new candidate to take Pfaadt’s place, which a party can do if a candidate withdraws. The party is supposed to have 10 days to put forward a replacement.
But now Nemes AND Michael Adams, the Secretary of State, are saying it is too late to do that. Their rationale? That the official candidates were certified on August 22nd, and that closes the door.
Whites later told WFPL that “there are situations where candidates die, or get seriously ill or disqualified, and the party then has that 10-day period to replace the candidate. But he’s saying he’s not going to certify this candidate in a timely fashion and so the replacement candidate cannot be on the ballot. I just don’t think he has the legal authority to do that.” She also noted that she may file a lawsuit over the issue, as she believes Adams is allowing his partisan loyalties to affect this decision.
As Rachel Maddow says, watch this space.
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