“Let’s go Brandon”: Colorado candidate fights for “nickname” on ballot

“Let’s Go Brandon” has become a code for some conservatives’ wanting to use another four-letter word to describe their feelings toward President Joe Biden. One Colorado congressional candidate also wants it as part of his name on the Republican primary ballot.

State Rep. Dave Williams is suing to be known as Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams on the Republican primary ballot for the 5th Congressional District. Secretary of State Jena Griswold denied the request, calling it a slogan, not a nickname. Williams sued her Monday in the hopes the courts would decide.

“Let’s Go Brandon” is a stand-in rhyme for an epithet about President Biden that’s taken off among some corners of right-wing politics. The phrase is sold on hats, T-shirts and flags. Attendees at the Colorado Republican Assembly broke out into the chant earlier this month. Williams himself said it during introductory remarks at the event, and he brands his social media accounts with the slogan — tucked in quotes between his first and last name, just like a nickname. He even signed the lawsuit as David “LGB” Williams.

Williams is challenging U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn for the Republican nomination for El Paso County district, and he’s running to the incumbent’s right in the heavily conservative district. In seeking the nomination at a district assembly, he pledged to be “a right-wing conservative, America-first, grassroots fighter with a spine who won’t back down from the corrupt politicians and the deep state,” according to Colorado Politics.

“My ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ nickname represents who I am and what the voters can count on knowing me by,” Williams said in a text message about the suit. “Jena Griswold is breaking state law, and being inconsistent with her past interpretation of it, because she wants to put her thumb on the scale against my candidacy, and it’s come time she learn she can’t push her radical agenda on the rest of us without a fight.”

The state allows nicknames if the candidate regularly uses it, and it doesn’t include any part of a political party name. According to his lawsuit, Griswold rejected Williams’ request to include the phrase and called it a slogan, not a nickname. Williams contends such a standard doesn’t exist and is inconsistent with precedent set just last November when a school board candidate in Larimer County ran as Blake “No Mandates” Law.

“While Colorado statute does permit the use of nicknames on the ballot, our office does not believe this is a good faith use of that statute and will cause confusion for voters,” a spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office said in a statement. “The Secretary of State’s Office looks forward to defending our practice of ensuring the ballot remains clear and accessible for all Colorado voters.”

The lawsuit was first reported by 9News. Williams is being represented by former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who was found guilty of breaching Colorado ethics law in 2012. Gessler went on to mount a failed bid for governor in 2014, and served as an attorney for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign.

Griswold, a Democrat, has been subject to particular ire from Republicans following the 2020 election and her office’s investigation of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters. Peters is under indictment for allegedly plotting to breach her county’s voting systems.

 

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