Secretary of state disqualifies Jeff Lewis from state Senate race; appeal planned.

Secretary of state disqualifies Jeff Lewis from state Senate race; appeal planned.

Friday update:

From the Rome News-Tribune: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger upheld on Friday an administrative law judge’s opinion that Jeff Lewis was ineligible to qualify as a candidate in the state Senate District 52 race. Lewis released a statement vowing to appeal, to the Georgia Supreme Court if necessary. Meanwhile, signs will be posted at poll stations notifying voters of the decision, SOS spokesman Walter Jones said. Expanded coverage

Statement from Lester Tate, Jeff Lewis’ Attorney:

“The statute under which Senator Hufstetler seeks to disqualify Jeff Lewis is blatantly unconstitutional. However, only the Superior Courts and, ultimately, the
Supreme Court of Georgia are able to rule that a statute violates the Georgia Constitution. We look forward to presenting our arguments there and ensuring
that Jeff remains on the ballot. The Georgia Constitution sets forth the exclusive qualifications for members of the General Assembly. What has happened here is
that Senator Hufstetler and his colleagues have attempted to add additional qualifications for service in the General Assembly in order to prevent anyone
from running against them.”

A major development Thursday afternoon in one of the top races on the May 24 ballot, state Senate District 52.

The Rome News-Tribune is reporting an administrative law judge is recommending Jeff Lewis be disqualified from Republican primary election. He’s challenging incumbent state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, and Dennis Keeney, chair of the Bartow County Board of Education. There is no Democratic opposition so the winner of the primary or runoff if needed gets the seat.

At issue are nearly 10 years worth of campaign finance disclosures Lewis failed to file from his time in the state House, plus a new law saying a candidate is not eligible unless they are up to date. “The stipulated facts and testimony at the hearing establish that Lewis had not made the requisite filings as of the date of his qualification filing nor had he cured such delinquency by the time of the hearing in this matter and the closing of the record in this matter,” State Administrative Law  Judge Charles Beaudrot wrote in a decision released Thursday afternoon.

What’s next: The recommendation goes to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, who will make a ruling. Raffensperger’s decision can be appealed to Fulton County Superior Court and Lewis’ attorney indicated it’s likely, during a hearing Thursday morning.
Background: Beaudrot was the same judge who heard the challenge to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s candidacy and ruled there was insufficient evidence to tie her to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington, thereby allowing her to stay on the congressional ballot (Raffensperger concurred with the judge’s decision).
The ruling:
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