Muad Hrezi, who sought to petition his way onto the Democratic primary ballot to challenge U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, announced on Twitter that he didn’t meet the threshold.
Instead, Hrezi is taking the Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Gov. Ned Lamont, to court to challenge the petition process.
He said Merrill’s office gave them the petition forms two days late.
He also said the COVID-19 pandemic spiked during the 42 days they had to collect signatures and this prevented them from collecting the more than 3,800 signatures he needed.
“The rules themselves are extremely arduous,” Hrezi said.
He said many people were afraid to sign because of fear of contracting COVID.
Hrezi said he spent more than $20,000 of the nearly $500,000 he raised on circulating petitions. He said the petitions were circulated by about 25 people – some paid and some volunteers.
Hrezi contends his ability to raise nearly $500,000 to challenge Larson should be enough to prove he’s a serious candidate and people in the district want to see him run. That’s half of what Larson has raised, but more than any of the Republican candidates running for Congress this year.
Larson has represented the district since 1999. He has not faced a primary challenge in 24 years.
“I’m still optimistic that a court will look at all of the work that we’ve done, look at the circumstances we were given and the fact that we were delayed by two days by the secretary’s office and see that there has been a complete bias in favor of the incumbent throughout this process,” Hrezi said.
Before collecting signatures, Hrezi failed to gain the 15% of delegates he needed at the convention. He received 14 out of the 400 votes available to him at the Democratic District Convention.
“No one has ever qualified for a primary against an incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Connecticut,” the lawsuit states.
It claims that Connecticut is the only state in the nation that has never had a primary against an incumbent U.S. House Representative.
The lawsuit says that 45 states have had a primary against an incumbent congress member since 2014.
“This is because Connecticut has the most restrictive laws for access to the primary ballot of any State in the United States when it comes to the office of U.S. Representative. No state requires a candidate to get more signatures in a shorter amount of time than Connecticut,” the lawsuit filed by Attorney Alex Taubes states.