Democratic candidate removed from Senate primary ballot

 February 29, 2024

The Indiana Election Commission has made a significant decision impacting the state's Republican primary ballot for the U.S. Senate by excluding John Rust, a businessman with a longstanding history as a Democratic voter, leaving Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) as the sole contender on the GOP ticket.

Reported by State Affairs Indiana journalist Tom Davies on X Tuesday and elaborated on in a subsequent article, the Indiana Election Commission voted unanimously to disqualify Rust from the ballot.

The decision

The commission's ruling stemmed from Rust's failure to meet the state's two-primary voting requirement, a condition he had challenged in court.

This requirement, as outlined in Code 3-8-2-7, mandates that to be considered a candidate of a particular party, an individual must have voted on that party's ballot in the last two primaries they participated in or obtain certification from the county chair.

According to previous reporting by Breitbart News in July, Rust did not meet this voting requirement, having participated in Democratic primaries in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012, as per Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System records.

Rust's response

Rust's legal counsel argued that his absence from the 2020 GOP primary was due to the pandemic-induced date change and the absence of contested races on the Republican ballot in his county that year.

Despite a favorable ruling for Rust by Marion Superior Court, which was subsequently stayed by the Indiana Supreme Court on February 15, the commission proceeded with the hearing on Tuesday. The state's high court justices reaffirmed the law establishing the two-primary requirement.

In response to the commission's decision, Rust criticized the ruling, characterizing it as emblematic of political insiders rigging the electoral process.

He expressed determination to challenge the decision, indicating a willingness to pursue the matter all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary.

The battle set to continue

Rust reaffirmed his commitment to fighting for the interests of Hoosiers, asserting that the outcome of the hearing was predetermined and underscoring his resolve to continue advocating for his constituents.

Rust's remarks highlight a broader theme of contention within the electoral landscape, where legal battles and interpretations of voting regulations shape the composition of candidate ballots.

The exclusion of Rust from the Republican primary ballot underscores the significance of adherence to electoral regulations and the impact of legal challenges on the democratic process.

As the electoral proceedings unfold, the repercussions of the commission's decision reverberate, shaping the trajectory of the U.S. Senate race in Indiana and prompting reflections on the integrity of the electoral system.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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