Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder says California law disqualified him from running in the governor’s recall election. Gavin Newsom was originally passed by state lawmakers to force then-President Donald Trump to submit his tax returns if he wanted to in order to qualify for the 2020 presidential election.
Elder, one of the most recognized Republicans in the recall, announced his candidacy to oust Newsom on July 12. But his campaign agency was informed late Sunday night that Elder was ineligible to vote for the September 14 election.
Candidates must file tax returns for the five most recent taxable years and pay a filing fee of nearly $4,200 or submit 7,000 signatures. The office of California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said Elder filed incomplete tax returns.
A letter shared by the Secretary of State to Elder late Sunday does not specify what tax information he allegedly failed to include. Elder insists he filed all necessary paperwork and the reasons given by the Secretary of State for his disqualification were vague and unclear. On Monday, he filed a lawsuit against Weber, demanding that her office put him on the recall vote.
Elder’s lawsuit states that California Senate Bill 27 requires presidential and governor candidates to file tax returns for the past five years to be listed on a primary ballot.
“The idea was to force Donald Trump to turn in his tax returns if he wanted to qualify for the 2020 presidential election,” Elder told Fox News in an interview. “This was, of course, before his tax returns were stolen and made public. So it was all meant to get to Trump.”
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According to Elder’s lawsuit, SB 27 has been challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled it unconstitutional but allowed it to remain in gubernatorial races. However, it is not clear how it applies to election recalls.
Meanwhile, several other candidates have not yet filed their 2020 tax returns, as they have filed returns for only four years.
“Never is anyone excluded for something small,” Elder said. “Looks like they were looking for a reason to exclude me.”
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Fox News has made multiple attempts to reach the Secretary of State for comment, but have heard nothing. In a statement to The Associated Press, Weber’s office said the agency applies the same criteria to any candidate seeking elected office.
The published list of candidates “did not include Mr. Elder and others who did not meet those requirements. This is the first election where the Tax Disclosure Act has been applied to gubernatorial candidates.”
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A certified list of recall candidates will be released on Wednesday. As of Tuesday, there are 42 candidates on the tentative list, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is also filed a lawsuit against Weber for rejecting “retired mayor of San Diego” as his official title.
Ronn Blitzer of Fox News contributed to this report.