There is no joy in Mudville -- again -- for Arizona's Green and Democratic parties.
For the second time in a week, a judge ruled today to allow several Green Party candidates, dubbed by the two parties as "sham" candidates, to remain on the November ballot.
This morning, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink ruled to leave 11 Green Party candidates on the ballot, despite concerns they're candidacies are being used by the Republican Party to lure liberal voters away from voting for Democrats.
In total, 11 candidates have been identified by the two parties as sham-sters. Seven of them have withdrawn from their races.
Two of the seven who withdrew requested to have their withdrawals be invalidated. Each of those requests were denied by Fink.
Fink's ruling comes just days after a federal court judge also ruled to leave the candidates on the ballot.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell ruled that the candidates in question can remain on the ballot as Green Party candidates for the November election.
That ruling was necessary to allow elections officials to begin printing ballots, which tight deadlines require them to do promptly to get ballots to overseas voters, including members of the military.
Arizona Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson tells New Times the party isn't thrilled with the ruling but that it has a silver lining.
"The good news is that this cynical game has been exposed, even if legal channels were unable to stop it," she says. "Republicans were trying to pull a fast one on the voters, and they got caught red-handed. Voters have every right to be angry."
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Green and Democratic party officials charge Republicans with taking advantage of a loophole in Arizona election law that allows candidates to become Green Party nominees with a single write-in vote.
It's been reported that the questionable candidates switched party affiliation to the Green Party just days before the deadline to file as write-in candidates.
Green Party officials claim the candidates are ineligible because they violate the party's right to be associated with members who agree with its platform.
As we pointed out last week, rules are rules. And the law -- as loophole-y as it may be -- is the law. Sounds like a pretty standard case of "don't hate the playa, hate the game."