DFL State Rep. Kerry Gauthier withdrew from his re-election race this summer after he was questioned by police about a sexual encounter with teen boy, but it was too late to remove his name from the ballot, under current rules.
Faced with running a write-in candidate, the DFL went to court, asking to substitute the newly endorsed replacement Erik Simonson for Gauthier on the ballot.
Republicans fought the case, arguing that if this switch was allowed, parties might be able to make future changes if a candidate messes up on the campaign, or a new candidate emerges with better chances.
But the Court allowed the switch, without clarifying its reasons. An explanation of the ruling is expected later.
Until then, some politicians are wondering how wide-reaching the ruling is, and whether it allows parties to change their ballot lineups beyond the current withdrawal date, notes the Fargo Forum.
Sara Van Norman, the attorney for Travis Silvers, the Republican candidate in the race, had argued:
“If the DFL’s position is adopted, various candidates for various offices will now be able to be substituted by their party throughout the election as they commit errors of judgment and faux pas on the campaign trail.”
Republican leaders criticized the Supreme Court ruling as an example of judicial overreach, but the story notes that the majority on the court was appointed by former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.