Independent candidate for Congress says she deserves to stay on the ballot amid efforts to remove her

Posted at 3:19 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 18:32:41-04

HAMPTON, Va. - A possible lawsuit could force an independent candidate for Congress off the ballot, but Shaun Brown says she deserves to stay on it.

"I think the Democratic Party should spend less time fighting against me and more time fighting for the people of the second congressional district," she said in an interview with News 3 on Friday.

An attorney for Virginia Democrats says they plan to file a lawsuit unless the state acts and removes her from the ballot. In a letter Thursday, attorney Marc Elias set a deadline of noon Friday, but that self-imposed deadline passed with no report of legal action.

Brown is in a three-way race between Republican Congressman Scott Taylor and Democratic challenger Elaine Luria. Political analysts say having Brown and Luria on the ballot could dilute the Democratic vote and help Taylor win reelection.

Congressman's Taylor's staff helped in the efforts to get Brown on the ballot by collecting signatures, but this week several people came forward to say they never signed the petition. Now, a special prosecutor is investigating whether Taylor's staff did anything illegal. "I think there should be an investigation. I think it's horrible," Brown said.

In addition to that, Democrats say more than 1,600 signatures Brown's team collected should be declared invalid due to multiple problems. A candidate needs 1,000 signatures to make it on the ballot, so losing that many could get her removed. "I've been certified by the State Board of Elections and if they were concerned, I wouldn't have been certified," she said.

In a news conference, Brown's supporters defended the signatures they collected. "I'm here to tell you we sat in the sunshine, in the rain to get those signatures. I am a living witness. I was there myself," said Linda Wiggins, the communications director of Friends of Shaun Brown for Congress.

Brown, referencing her own recent legal troubles, says she's ready for another courtroom battle. "I'm not immune to going to court. I kind of like it over there at the federal courthouse, especially when you win," Brown said.