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Ballot law a stumbling block

June 09, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A Republican soundly defeated by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in February's primary said he's been asked to run as an independent in the general election.

However, Maryland law prevents Joseph T. Krysztoforski from appearing on the general-election ballot after losing a primary.

According to e-mails from Krysztoforski's campaign, people backing U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, want Krysztoforski to face Bartlett again.

The group collected 4,200 petition signatures, Krysztoforski said.

"They now have more than (enough) signatures to have his name placed on the ballot," former Krysztoforski communications director John Fabroso wrote in an e-mail.

In another e-mail, Krysztoforski campaign director Fran Berni wrote, "He reminded the group, that to place his name on the ballot, he would have to obtain a minimum of 4,100 signatures on a candidacy petition and file it with the Board of Elections by COB (close of business) August 1."

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The campaign was right about the number of signatures, but wrong on the larger issue of getting his name on the ballot, according to Maryland law.

A candidate who loses a primary can't be on the general-election ballot, said Jared DeMarinis, the Maryland State Board of Elections' director of candidacy and campaign finance.

There are exceptions, such as for circuit court judge and presidential candidates.

A losing primary candidate may run a write-in campaign in the general election.

Krysztoforski said he's reluctant to run as an independent and siphon votes from Bartlett, helping Democrat Jennifer Dougherty.

But, he said, if Ron Paul supporters got at least 10,000 signatures, he'd think seriously about their request.

He also said, though, he won't run as a write-in candidate, so they should find out if his name could be on the ballot.

However, when he was told during an interview that, as a losing primary candidate, he can't be on the Nov. 4 ballot, he said, "That's what I thought."

"(The election law) is very clear on that point," he added.

Seeking a ninth term, Bartlett got 78 percent of the votes in February's primary. Krysztoforski was second with 9 percent.

The Ron Paul group formed through the Meetup Web site, Krysztoforski said.

Paul spokesman Tom Lizardo said the group can't be affiliated with Paul, who won't endorse anyone running against incumbemt Republicans, including Bartlett.

"Dr. Paul has worked closely with, has supported and will continue to support Roscoe Bartlett," Lizardo said.

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