FORT WAYNE – The Allen County Democrats want to make sure Tommy Schrader isn’t allowed on the fall ballot.
Chairman Mike Bynum on Friday filed a lawsuit in Allen Circuit Court to declare Schrader ineligible for office because he did not maintain a residence in Fort Wayne.
The legal effort comes a week after the Allen County Election Board voted unanimously to remove Schrader from the November ballot for not meeting those same requirements.
Bynum said he filed the lawsuit to take the challenge through court so it would be 100 percent official.
Zach Klutz, Republican member of the election board, questioned the necessity for such a lawsuit after the board’s decision but said the law provides different ways to challenge a nominee and a lawsuit in court is one of those options.
For whatever reason, they decided to pursue the other avenue, Klutz said. My initial thought is the issue is moot.
Schrader still has time to appeal the election board’s decision, Klutz said, and Schrader promised to do so last week. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
Schrader is a perennial candidate and said he took a vacation to Wisconsin during the campaign season this year because he did not expect to win. He finished third in a five-way Democratic race for Fort Wayne City Council at large, securing one of the party’s three nominations.
He told the election board, however, that he registered to vote in Green Bay and participated in that city’s municipal election. These revelations prompted the board to determine he did not meet local residency requirements.
The lawsuit also appears to ask the court to appoint Democrat George Guido as Schrader’s replacement. Guido finished fourth in the primary election. It asked the court to enter an order declaring as nominated, the qualified three candidates who received the highest number of votes, other than Thomas (Tommy) Schrader.
Bynum said such a decision on whether Guido would take the ballot spot would be up to a judge. An initial hearing is scheduled for June 1.