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July 6, 2015

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Independent American Party candidate sues to keep Tea Party candidate off ballot

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Jon Scott Ashjian

Sun Coverage

The conservative Independent American Party's U.S. Senate candidate sued today to remove a fellow U.S. Senate candidate running under the Tea Party of Nevada from the ballot.

Tim Fasano, of Fernley, filed the lawsuit in Carson City District Court, arguing that Tea Party of Nevada candidate Jon Scott Ashjian should be removed from November's ballot because he failed to change his party affiliation until after he filed for office. Also, according to the complaint, Ashjian is not affiliated with the state or national Tea Party organizations that have risen up to protest government spending and Washington, D.C., overreach.

Fasano said, "I think he inappropriately stole the Tea Party name." Plus, he added, Ashjian's place on November's ballot potentially helps Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"Potentially, he'll take votes from me and take votes from the Republican. Against Reid, we need all the votes we can get," Fasano said.

Ashjian has said that he is running because he opposes Reid and President Barack Obama's policies. But conservative activists have accused him of being a Reid plant, meant to siphon votes away from the majority leader's eventual Republican opponent. Fasano said he, too, believes Reid is behind the Tea Party of Nevada, though he said he had no direct evidence.

Larger, more active groups in Nevada affiliated with the national Tea Party movement have also disavowed Ashjian.

Fasano said Republicans also asked him to withdraw from the race to improve the GOP's chances of defeating Reid.

"They have asked on several occassions that the Independent American Party drop out," Fasano said.

His response? "If they want a true conservative, not beholden to any political party, the Republicans should step out of the race," he said.

Ashjian filed for office earlier this month, but didn't change his voter registration until a day later. Previously he was registered as a Republican.

"It is shameful that the Independent American Party would legally challenge my right to run for the U.S. Senate," Ashjian said Monday in response to the legal action. "They call themselves the 'Independent American' party but there's nothing independent about what they are doing. They are doing the bidding for Republican Party. They should welcome the ability of minor parties to field candidates when the two major political parties have failed us so badly."

The Tea Party of Nevada filed its bylaws with the state in January, according to the Secretary of State's office.

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