A Colorado judge on Wednesday upheld Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s decision to block state Rep. David Williams from being listed on a congressional ballot with a phrase he claims is his nickname: “Let’s Go Brandon.”
Williams, who is running in the Republican primary in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, sued the state last week. Denver District Judge Andrew McCallin found that although Williams does in fact go by that nickname, Griswold has the authority to nix it from the ballot. McCallin noted in the ruling that Williams’ ballot status wasn’t harmed in the process. (His name appears first among a list of four candidates.)
Williams called the decision a “bad ruling,” according to The Washington Post.
Colorado law permits nicknames to appear on ballots as long as they are “regularly” used and don’t include part of a political party’s name. Williams said in his lawsuit that he started using “Let’s Go Brandon” in December, two months after the slogan became code for an expletive directed at President Joe Biden. But Griswold told local NBC affiliate KUSA that she is prohibiting the MAGA moniker in order to be “fair and transparent” with voters. The court’s ruling, she added, “affirms that the content of the ballot is not a place for political gamesmanship.”
In response to the ruling, Williams told KUSA, “It’s clear that a Democrat-appointed judge put his thumb on the scale for a corrupt Democrat secretary of state.” Williams added that he plans to appeal to the state’s highest court, and offered some blustery talk that there ought to be consequences if his case isn’t heard.
“If the Colorado Supreme Court doesn’t hear this appeal,” Williams claimed, “then they are derelict in their duty and lawmakers should remove their salaries or move to term them out of office without delay.”
The deadline for Griswold to certify the primary ballot is Friday. The primary election is scheduled for June 28, with incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn running for his ninth term.