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Court says candidate can’t use nickname ‘Doc’ on ballot

Dan Severson is the Republican candidate running for secretary of state in Minnesota, and he’d hoped to use his nickname on the ballot: “Doc” Severson.

Sounds kind of like Doc Severinsen, the band leader on Johnny Carson’s old “Tonight Show,” doesn’t it?

Even though Severson used the nickname when running unopposed on last week’s primary ballot, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday that he can’t use “Doc” on the November ballot.

Severson told the Star Tribune he wasn’t surprised.

“It’s not a big deal. It was kind of anticipated,” said Severson, who said a court case challenging his use of the “Doc” nickname was backed by DFL activists and was “the typical DFL dirty tricks stuff.”

“I’ve got a 28-year history with the name,” said Severson, who said the nickname was given to him during his days as a Navy pilot. “Dan or ‘Doc’ is fine, but I’d rather be known [as] ‘Mr. Election Integrity.’ “

Severson will face incumbent Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in the Nov. 2.

The Secretary of State’s Office oversees elections in Minnesota, and Monday’s Supreme Court order, by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, instructed Ritchie’s office to remove Severson’s nickname from the November ballot.

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