Two Montgomery County Circuit Court judges rejected restraining order requests on Monday filed by two disqualified Jefferson County Democrat candidates against Jefferson County Probate Judge James Naftel and Alabama Ethics Commission Director Tom Albritton.
Incumbent Jefferson County Treasurer Eyrika Parker and Democratic primary challenger Mara Ruffin Allen filed lawsuits in December after being kicked off the 2024 primary ballot. The lawsuits are before Montgomery County Circuit Judges Brooke Reid and James Anderson.
Thirteen Jefferson County Democrats were disqualified in late December from appearing on the primary ballot in March. Republican Party officials said in December about 18 Republican candidates statewide were disqualified from ballot access.
The disqualifications were primarily due to candidates allegedly not submitting their Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) within five days of qualifying as required by law.
There are currently no qualified Democrat candidates for Jefferson County Treasurer. By law, the local party would be able to appoint a candidate. The party couldn’t appoint Parker or Allen because they’ve been disqualified.
Reid said in a filing on Monday rejecting Parker’s temporary restraining order, “[Allen], believing that she was a qualified candidate for the Office of Treasurer of Jefferson County, has expended a great deal of resources in campaigning for office. It is undisputed the Plaintiff successfully filed her SEI form within 14 calendar days of qualifying for office.”
“Moreover, according to the Verified Complaint, the Plaintiff attempted to file her SEI within six calendar days of qualifying for office, which is within the available window for candidates to submit their SEI," Reid continued. While the Plaintiff makes a compelling argument, with respect to her Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, she must establish that without the injunction, she would suffer immediate and irreparable harm. If the Plaintiff ultimately prevails on the merits of her claim and is deemed to be qualified, she would be the only qualified candidate for the position of Treasurer of Jefferson County and, consequently, running unopposed. If the Plaintiff is the only qualified candidate, her name would not appear on the Democratic Primary ballot that must be distributed by January 10th, thus negating her claim of irreparable harm."
In a separate filing on Monday, Anderson said that Parker failed to show “she has at least a reasonable chance of success on the merits of her case.”
Both candidates eventually submitted their SEI forms after the five-day deadline, but Brian Paterson, an attorney with the Alabama Ethics Commission, said in court last week there was no record of either candidate attempting to submit the form to them before the deadline.
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