Shuttleworth v. Moran – The Facts

Despite having collected 1,823 signatures, nearly double the number necessary to be certified to participate in VA-8’s Democratic primary on June 12th, Bruce Shuttleworth’s effort to challenge 22 year incumbent, Jim Moran, was almost not to be. Facing the pressure of a lawsuit filed by Shuttleworth, Virginia’s Eight Congressional District Democratic Committee reversed last week’s decision and certified Bruce Shuttleworth as a candidate for Congress.Given that past primary challengers to Moran had faced significant difficulties when mounting an effort to get on the ballot, Shuttleworth’s campaign did all it could to secure his slot. But on Friday, April 2nd, the Shuttleworth campaign was notified that they had fallen 18 signatures short of the 1,000 necessary to be on the ballot.

Shuttleworth then filed a lawsuit against state party officials in federal court, and delivered a speech to a small crowd at a press conference about the lawsuit Tuesday in Alexandria. “I think this sordid episode makes it clear that my opponent and his supporters will do anything, resort to almost anything to deny a reasonable choice,” Shuttleworth said to a small crowd in front of City Hall. Not long after his campaign filed the lawsuit against several Democratic party officials (including Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran, brother of Jim Moran) the missing signatures were reported to have been found. After submitting his signatures on March 29, Shuttleworth said he was informed by the Chairwoman of the 8th District Democratic Committee, Margo Horner, that he had not made the ballot by way of a voicemail late in the afternoon on April 2. That same afternoon, Horner certified Moran as the only candidate for the ballot.

There were some questions as to whether or not Shuttleworth’s campaign manager, a Maryland resident, had been the reason why half of the signatures had been rejected or lost. According to Virginia law, the certifiers of the petitions must be registered voters in the Commonwealth. As it turns out, only 36 signatures were collected by his campaign manager, leaving the other 800 or so to go missing.

The 8th Congressional District is considered a safe haven for Democrats and Jim Moran would also be considered a favorite in a primary against Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth’s contention is worth noting because of the recent announcement by the Campaign for Primary Accountability that it was planning to target Jim Moran.

Related: Shuttleworth’s press conference on the matter.

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