After a months-long battle to get on the ballot, Muad Hrezi’s campaign to challenge incumbent U.S. Representative John Larson has reached its end. On Wednesday, a Hartford Superior Court Judge dismissed Hrezi’s lawsuit challenging Connecticut’s ballot access laws, claiming they are unduly burdensome to candidates and voters alike.
Judge Cesar A. Noble’s decision ensures that Connecticut will remain the only state in the country where an incumbent U.S. representative has never faced a primary.
In his decision, Judge Noble concluded that, despite Connecticut requiring more signatures to run for U.S. representative than any state in the nation, the “number of signatures Hrezi was required to collect were not impractical”. Judge Noble added that the signature requirement is “narrowly tailored to the state’s compelling interest in requiring candidates to show a modicum of support”.
While his name certainly won’t appear on the primary ballot next week, Hrezi has signaled that he’s not giving up on his fight against restrictive ballot access laws and may consider filing an appeal.
“Our democracy’s at a critical juncture. We should be fighting to expand ballot access and voter choice, not upholding laws that restrict it,” Hrezi said in a press release. “These laws hurt us all because they stifle competition and the debate of ideas. I’m committed to shining light on this significant threat to our democracy, as a candidate or otherwise. We’re evaluating our appellate options in light of the court’s decision.”
Prior to dismissing Hrezi’s challenge to the state’s ballot access laws, Judge Noble also rejected Hrezi’s claims that his campaign to petition onto the ballot was hamstrung by COVID-19 and the Secretary of State’s office being two days late in providing Hrezi with the necessary paperwork.
According to Noble’s decision, although Hrezi’s campaign submitted 4,950 signatures, well above the 3,833 signature threshold to get on the ballot, at least 1,683 of those signatures were rejected by town registrars, leaving Hrezi’s campaign hundreds of signatures shy of accessing the ballot.
U.S. Rep Larson is running for his 13th term as the representative for Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District, a seat he has held since 1999.