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Assembly candidate Allard loses court challenge against Gaines

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A judge has thrown out 4th Assembly District candidate John Allard’s suit over opponent Beth Gaines’ small-business credentials. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley ruled Friday that the Allard campaign waited too long to lodge the legal challenge. The suit against the Secretary of State and registrars of voters in District 4’s Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento and Alpine counties called into question the “small business woman” ballot designation for Gaines that is being printed on sample ballots. Placer County elections chief Jim McCauley, who attended Friday’s hearing in Sacramento with County Counsel Anthony La Bouff, said the judge denied moving forward with the case because delays and added costs would have gravely affected the election process. Allard filed the lawsuit late Wednesday, which the judge pointed out was after the Jan. 31 cutoff for ballot-wording challenges to the Secretary of State. Kimberly Nichols, a spokesman for the Allard campaign, said the judge determined a delay would compress the time line for the election and pose a hardship to reprint ballots that were already completed. “Unfortunately he didn’t rule on the merit of the case, that Beth Gaines is misleading voters,” Nichols said. “The judge did admit the question being raised did have merit.” Dave Gilliard, spokesman for Gaines, said the campaign was happy with the decision and glad to put it behind them. Allard contended that documentation from Fair Political Practices Commission filings by Gaines and her husband, state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, showed that while she claimed to be a small businesswoman, there was no evidence of her being in business. The Gaines camp responded that the filing was a publicity stunt and had no merit. Gaines was involved in two family businesses and filed information with the Fair Political Practices Commission showing she received income, Gilliard said Thursday. McCauley said that the judge didn’t address any of the ballot-designation issues because of the tight time factor between now and the March 3 special election. Placer County’s printer has already started publishing sample ballots and he said they could be going out as early as Tuesday. “It would have cost the county thousands and thousands of dollars,” McCauley said. “I’m sure that was part of the judge’s thinking.”