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GOP wants Democratic attorney general candidate off ballot

August 5, 2020 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Republican Party is asking the state Supreme Court to rule that the Democratic candidate for attorney general does not meet the qualifications for the office and should not appear on the ballot for November’s general election.

The party filed the complaint on Monday. Justices on Tuesday gave candidate Raph Graybill until Aug. 10 to respond.

In late February, Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan found that Graybill was qualified to serve because he was admitted to practice law in Montana and will have engaged in the active practice of law for five years by the time of November’s general election.

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Former legislator Dave Wanzenried filed the complaint, arguing Graybill would not have been a member of the Montana Bar for five years prior to the June primary. Wanzenried supported Graybill’s primary opponent, Kim Dudik.

The Republican complaint filed this week seeks a declaration that Graybill is ineligible to hold the office and if he appears on the ballot, the party will incur expenses and other burdens to defeat an ineligible candidate. It argues Graybill’s time at a Seattle law firm did not count toward experience practicing the law in Montana.

Graybill, the chief legal counsel to Gov. Steve Bullock, faces Republican Austin Knudsen in the Nov. 3 election. Graybill criticized the party’s petition as desperate, the Great Falls Tribune reports.

The Montana GOP is seeking a ruling before the general election ballots are certified on Aug. 20.

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