One day after the election, Superior Court Judge Julia Aurigemma found that Republican candidate Martha Dean, who lost Tuesday, did not have standing to challenge her Democratic opponent’s qualifications just seven days before the election.
Dean’s opponent, George Jepsen beat her on Tuesday by a convincing 94,000 votes.
In her decision, Aurigemma said by bringing the lawsuit a few days prior to the election has the “potential of casting a cloud of uncertainty on the candidates, which cannot be adequately resolved prior to election day.”
“There can be no doubt that at some point, the public interest in ensuring orderly elections outweighs any personal interests that the candidates may have,” Aurigemma wrote.
But Dean wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“We are meeting with our legal team and assessing all of our options,” Dean said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
But in dismissing the case, Aurigemma seemed to agree with most of the defendant’s argument that a court can’t take away a political party’s right to endorse any candidate it wants, even if that candidate is not qualified. If the electorate elects an unqualified candidate then a court challenge may be warranted.
Aurigemma also seemed to agree with Jepsen and attorneys for the Secretary of the State’s office that Dean and her attorneys were suing the wrong entity when they decided to sue the state. If it had sued the two political parties that endorsed Jepsen, then it’s possible the outcome would have been different.
Therefore, the court was unable to grant Dean’s injunction and instead granted Jepsen’s motion to dismiss.
“I am delighted the judge agreed with our position on virtually all aspects of the lawsuit,” Jepsen said. “I feel vindicated.”
“I have said all along that this lawsuit was frivolous, desperate and most of all political,” Jepsen said. “Connecticut voters agreed with me. I thank them for their support and the confidence they have shown in me. I won’t let them down.”