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Judge candidate disqualified from November general election
Nearly 300 signatures for J. Corey Stackhouse were disqualified
FARMINGTON — A district judge candidate for the 11th Judicial District will not be on the ballot for the November general election after 291 signatures on his nominating petitions were disqualified, leaving him short of the required number.
The New Mexico Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed a July 25 order by District Judge David Thomson in Santa Fe District Court to not place J. Corey Stackhouse on the Nov. 6 ballot for the Division 3 district judge seat for the 11th Judicial District, according to a copy of the order.
Stackhouse, a Farmington attorney, filed to run as an independent candidate for the district judge seat on June 28 with 1,525 signatures on his nomination petitions, according to the Thomson's order.
He was required to have 1,344 signatures to be placed on the general election ballot as an independent candidate. He fell short of the requirement with 1,234 signatures.
Stackhouse said in a statement it was disappointing to see more than 1,500 individuals disenfranchised from the democratic process and denied their right to nominate and vote for a candidate due to the court ruling
"I want to thank the many people who invested their time and effort on my behalf, as well everyone who took the time to sign a petition," Stackhouse said.
The initial complaint was filed on July 9 by Eleventh Judicial District Division 3 Judge Sarah Weaver and Keely Ferris, who were represented by local attorneys Gary Risley, Jack Fortner and Mark Curnutt.
The defendant listed in the case was New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.
Weaver said she was very relieved by the state Supreme Court's decision and that she will need to campaign hard, given that she is a write-in candidate for the seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
She was disqualified from the June primary election ballot when her nominating petition forms were disqualified because the paperwork did not include her division number.
"Several people conducted a careful review of the signatures submitted, and once it was determined that (Stackhouse) lacked the required number of valid signatures, the decision was made to file the complaint," Risley said in a press release.
The complaint initially sought to challenge 448 signatures on the petition the plaintiffs believed did not meet state law.
The plaintiffs claimed some of the signatures were from people not registered to vote in the county, that others were illegible and that some of the people who signed were not registered to vote at the address they used on the form, according to court documents.
A motion filed by Stackhouse on July 17 moved for the complaint to be dismissed, citing various arguments, including that the plaintiffs failed to meet the requirements for challenging a nominating petition.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.