Freitas and Good Will Appear on Ballots After Lawsuit Challenging Paperwork Filing Extensions Dismissed


Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpepper) and Bob Good (R) will appear on ballots this November after a circuit court judge dismissed a lawsuit that tried to block the candidates from the election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) filed the lawsuit challenging the State Board of Elections’ (BOE) authority to grant filing extensions to the candidates. Freitas is running for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Good is running for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.

Richmond City Circuit Court Judge Joi Jeter-Taylor said the extension was valid, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Taylor said that state code was clear in giving the BOE authority to be lenient. BOE Vice-Chair John O’Bannon (R) told The Virginia Star that the board often extends leniency to both Republican and Democratic candidates.

“There’s actually a history that supports allowing some of these late filings … some of it is precedent, some of it is [making sure] the political parties have access to the ballots, the candidates have access to consideration for access to the ballots,” O’Bannon said.

The lawsuit stated that the BOE extended the deadline by 38 days. O’Bannon said there was extended discussion and public input around the decision. Ultimately BOE Chair Bob Brink (D) voted with O’Bannon to approve the decision in a 2-1 vote.  Freitas and Good were late to file their Certificates of Candidate Qualifications, which require candidates to swear that they meet legal requirements to run for office. According to O’Bannon, last year, Freitas was also late to file another essential form, used by a political party to certify their candidates. The BOE is much stricter about the second form, and Freitas was forced to win in 2019 as a write-in.

O’Bannon said COVID-19 might have contributed to the number of late filings this year — besides Freitas and Good, the BOE granted leniency to four other candidates, including Nicholas Betts (D), who is running for Virginia’s 6th Congressional District. O’Bannon added, “Some of it is just candidates not really knowing all the rules when they start out.”

In June, after missing the filing deadline for the second year in a row, Freitas explained the mistake on The John Fredericks Show. Fredericks challenged Freitas, “Some of your supporters, like me, are shaken by this.” Fredericks said repeatedly missing filing deadlines suggested serious problems in the Freitas campaign.

“It’s frustrating, I understand why supporters would be upset by this,” Freitas said. He said the lawyer who failed to file the paperwork resigned. “I take personal responsibility for it. But part of taking personal responsibility is making the necessary corrections and so that’s what we’re doing,” Freitas added.

The BOE may not always extend filing deadlines.

“There have been so many problems, so much leeway [given] that I think the three of us that are on the board are concerned by that and we may go back and revisit that decision next process,” O’Bannon said. “I think the lesson is that if you’re interested in running for office, you should really get your ducks in a row and make sure you get your paperwork in on time, because we may go back and change those decisions.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nick Freitas” by Nick Freitas. Photo “Bob Good” by Bob Good. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Anderskev. CC BY 3.0.









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