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Congressional candidate loses bid to go by ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ on ballot

Colorado state Rep. David Williams (R) speaks during a rally on April 5 in Denver. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Colorado politician David Williams has a nickname — Dave — that’s uncontroversial.

Then there’s the other one.

Williams sued the Colorado secretary of state last week after she denied his request to appear as “Dave ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Williams” on the ballot in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District. Williams is running to unseat eight-term incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) in the June primary.

On Wednesday, Denver District Judge Andrew McCallin agreed that Williams had proved he went by the nickname “Let’s Go Brandon,” which emerged last fall in conservative circles as code for a profane expression against President Biden. But the judge also ruled that Secretary of State Jena Griswold used proper authority in blocking it from the primary ballot.

A boat with ‘Let’s go Brandon’ Christmas lights won the holiday parade. Then the prize was revoked.

Williams called the decision “a bad ruling” in an email to The Washington Post.

“It’s clear that a Democrat appointed judge put his thumb on the scale for a corrupt Democrat Secretary of State,” he said to KUSA.

Williams told The Post he plans to appeal the ruling to the state’s highest court.

“The Colorado Supreme Court should do its job and hear this appeal because the corrupt [secretary of state] shouldn’t be allowed to violate the rule of law,” he said, adding that if the high court’s judges don’t hear his case, “they are derelict in their duty and lawmakers should remove their salaries or move to term them out of office without delay.”

Williams, who has served in the Colorado House of Representatives since 2016, is not the only Republican trying to get a catchphrase onto voters’ ballots.

Earlier this week, an Oklahoma Republican running for state labor commissioner lost his bid to appear on the ballot as “Sean ‘The Patriot’ Roberts,” the Associated Press reported. His opponent had objected, contending there was no evidence Roberts is known by or does business using that nickname, the standard set by Oklahoma election law.

Williams, in his lawsuit, pointed out that a candidate running for a Colorado school board last year appeared on the ballot as “Blake ‘No Mandates’ Law,” despite the local election official opposing such nicknames and calling for tightened laws to prevent them.

Law, who opposed mask mandates in schools, lost his race.

Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state, lauded McCallin’s Wednesday ruling, saying she struck “Let’s Go Brandon” from the ballot because her job is to be “fair and transparent” with voters. “The Court’s decision today affirms that the content of the ballot is not a place for political gamesmanship,” Griswold said in an email to The Post.

Who Wants to be a State Secretary of State? Everyone.

Griswold is up for reelection later this year in what the New Republic described as “The Most Important Election in 2022 That You’ve Never Heard Of,” since her office oversees elections and voter registration files.

Griswold’s counterparts have been targeted by conservatives aiming to take control of states’ voting systems in the name of so-called election integrity. After the 2020 presidential election, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) rebuffed President Donald Trump’s pressure to “find” the votes needed to overturn his loss in that state, The Post reported. Raffensperger, who maintained that President-elect Joe Biden had rightly won the state’s 16 electoral votes, now faces a primary challenger endorsed by the former president. (There is no evidence that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.)

“Let’s go, Brandon” grew out of a misunderstanding after an Oct. 2 NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. During an interview with winning driver Brandon Brown, a reporter mistakenly thought the crowd was chanting “Let’s go, Brandon” when the spectators were bashing the president.

How ‘Let’s go Brandon’ became an unofficial GOP slogan

In his lawsuit, Williams said he started going by “Let’s Go Brandon” in December. He pointed out that he includes the nickname on his social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He also cited Colorado election law regarding ballots, which stipulates that a “candidate’s name may include one nickname, if the candidate regularly uses the nickname and the nickname does not include any part of a political party name.”

In the suit, Williams said that Griswold rejected “Let’s Go Brandon,” claiming it was a slogan and not a nickname.

Before filing his lawsuit on April 18, Williams needed to complete the notarized verification page, swearing “under penalty of perjury” that everything in his lawsuit was true.

He signed his name to make it official: David “LGB” Williams.