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GOP challenge to Libertarian Hess dismissed

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Libertarian standard-bearer Barry Hess will be on the ballot for his fourth straight gubernatorial campaign after a Republican challenge to his nominating petitions was dismissed.

The lawsuit, filed by a Republican operative, alleged that 36 of Hess’ signatures were invalid. That would have left him five short of the 133 signatures he needed to qualify for the ballot.

Hess said county election officials found that 20 of the disputed signatures were good, giving him enough to get on the ballot. He called the called the challenge “ridiculous” and accused Republicans of trying to “win by exclusion.”

“I’m excited to be back on the ballot now that I know they want me off so badly,” Hess said.

Hess compared the challenge to HB2305, a 2013 bill that would have dramatically raised the number of signatures that Libertarians and other third-party candidates needed to collect to get on the ballot. The Legislature repealed the bill after a coalition of opponents, which included leaders of the Arizona Libertarian Party, collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot for a citizen referendum.

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