Krishanti Vignarajah To Seek Court Ruling on Whether She’s Eligible To Run for Governor

Krishanti Vignarajah To Seek Court Ruling on Whether She’s Eligible To Run for Governor

Candidate describes eligibility questions as 'spurious claims and rumors'

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Krishanti Vignarajah

Screenshot via Krish for Maryland campaign website

Krishanti Vignarajah’s campaign will seek a court order to determine if she’s eligible to run for governor.

The campaign issued a press release Friday that says she filed a request in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court seeking a declaratory judgment to resolve questions surrounding her campaign since she announced plans to run in August.

A circuit court clerk told Bethesda Beat on Friday that there was no record of a filing from Vignarajah’s campaign, although the clerk said if it was filed electronically it would likely show up in online court records next week.

Bethesda Beat first reported that Vignarajah previously registered and voted multiple times in Washington, D.C., from 2010 to 2014 while she worked in the State Department and White House. She previously served as Michelle Obama’s policy director in the White House.

Maryland law requires gubernatorial candidates to have been registered and to have lived in the state for five years preceding the election.

Vignarajah has been registered in Maryland since 2006 and has maintained that she was never a permanent resident of D.C. She registered in Maryland at a Catonsville address, but now lives in Gaithersburg.

“Krish’s legal request … asks the Court to issue a binding declaration confirming her right to appear on the ballot and dispelling spurious claims and rumors circulated by her opponents that she is not a registered voter and resident of Maryland,” the press release, which was posted on the blog A Miner Detail Friday, says.

The release also says Vignarajah was a resident and registered voter in Maryland well before the five-year window. It described “her opponents’ argument” that her votes in D.C. terminated her Maryland voter registration as “meritless.”

Steve Rabin, a spokesman for Vignarajah’s campaign, confirmed the press release posted on the blog is accurate, but declined to answer additional questions about it.

“I’m going to let the press release speak for itself,” Rabin said.

The campaign has not responded to questions sent Friday afternoon by Bethesda Beat about the court filing.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign committee has been named in the lawsuit as a defendant because the committee’s lawyer “publicly challenged Krish’s eligibility to run,” according to the press release.

Dirk Haire, Hogan’s campaign lawyer, previously told The Baltimore Sun, that Vignarajah “does not even meet residency requirements and has shown she simply doesn’t have what it takes to lead our state.”

It’s not clear when a judge would issue a ruling on Vignarajah’s filing.

Two attorneys at the Maryland Attorney General’s Office are also examining the issue for the state’s Board of Elections, according to Mary Wagner, the board’s director of voter registration.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Wagner and the board are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Vignarajah, 38, is seeking elected office for the first time. She is one of seven Democrats and who have announced their campaigns for governor. The others are Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, state Sen. Rich Madaleno, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Baltimore attorney James Shea and entrepreneur Alec Ross. Vignarajah is the only woman in the race.

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has said he plans to seek a second term.

The primary elections will be on June 26. 

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