- The Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear state Rep. Dave Williams’ appeal over his ballot name.
- Williams sought to have “Let’s Go Brandon” added to the June GOP congressional primary ballot.
- Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold argued that Williams used a slogan and not a name.
The Colorado Supreme Court in a unanimous order on Friday declined to hear the appeal in the case of a Colorado lawmaker who sought to use the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” — an anti-Biden insult — on a June Republican primary ballot for the state’s 5th Congressional district, according to The Gazette.
State Rep. Dave Williams, who is challenging eight-term GOP congressman Doug Lamborn in an intraparty contest, sued Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold last week after her office rejected allowing his name to appear on the ballot as Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams.
The phrase has become a rallying cry among conservatives to register their dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden. It became part of the GOP lexicon after NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast said that the crowd in the background of her October 2021 interview with the NASCAR driver Brandon Brown was chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon.”
However, the audience could be heard shouting the decidedly explicit “Fuck Joe Biden.”
Many Republicans have said that they feel as though the reporter who used the sanitized language was engaging in a form of media bias, rather than an attempt to avoid violating strict Federal Communications Commission rules against swearing during the NASCAR broadcast.
Williams in court filings said that he began using the nickname “Let’s Go Brandon” in December 2021, pointing out that he also employed the phrase in his public communications.
However, the court on Friday allowed Denver judge Andrew McCallin’s earlier ruling to stand.
McCallin on Wednesday found that Williams utilized the phrase as a nickname, but agreed that Griswold had standing to block it from being printed on the ballot.
Williams on Thursday appealed the ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court, contending that it presented “an important issue of consequence,” specifically the “scope of the secretary of state’s authority to disallow nicknames on the ballot.” His attorneys argued that McCallin’s ruling should be tossed because Colorado law doesn’t allow for a “campaign slogan” exception regarding elections and ballots.
“If the Colorado Supreme Court doesn’t hear this appeal, then they are derelict in their duty and lawmakers should remove their salaries or move to term them out of office without delay,” Williams said at the time.
After Friday’s ruling, Williams sharply criticized the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision preventing him from using the anti-Biden phrase on the ballot.
“In a time when the credibility of the judiciary is in question because of the scandals it’s embroiled in, you’d think the Colorado Supreme Court would want to at least justify their salaries the taxpayers provide them by actually doing their jobs,” he wrote in a text message to Colorado Politics. “They are derelict in their duty and it’s clear they want to help their fellow Democrats in violating the rule of law.”
Griswold has not yet commented on the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, but on Wednesday she applauded McCallin’s ruling, stating that it “affirms that the content of the ballot is not a place for political gamesmanship.”
“As secretary of state, I will always protect Colorado voters’ right to accessible elections and that includes a ballot that is fair and transparent,” she added.