Judge rejects Virden’s injunction request
Federal District Judge Robert Pitman denied political candidate Jennifer Virden’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the city from enforcing its campaign finance law. Virden, who lost in a runoff last December to city council member Alison Alter for the District 10 seat, had asked the court to overturn the city’s order that bans fundraising for women. political campaigns outside of a window of one year before the elections.
Virden, a real estate agent who announced her run for mayor in the November 2022 election, says non-incumbents are at a disadvantage by having to comply with time constraints. Although Virden argued that the order was in fact a three-year blackout period, the judge agreed with the city that for Virden the blackout period was effectively only 11 months. This is because she raised funds and participated in a runoff election in December 2020.
As the judge pointed out in his ruling Thursday, “a plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary measures. , that the equity balance is tilted in its favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest. The judge ruled that Virden had not shown that she would suffer irreparable harm without the injunction, pointing out that she had not filed any complaints against the city until March, when she could have filed immediately after the second. round of elections.
“In addition to her lack of proof that she will suffer irreparable harm, Virden’s delay in filing her complaint for a preliminary injunction tips the scales in favor of the city,” the judge wrote. He noted that the ruling is consistent with the ruling in the Zimmerman case.
Five years ago, council member Don Zimmerman sought to overturn the city’s previous campaign finance law, which prevented it from raising funds more than six months before an election. In this case, the parties had several months to prepare their briefs and prepare for the trial. Zimmerman ultimately won part of this six-month window to fundraising case for the campaign. The Council later enacted the current law which limits fundraising to one year before an election.
Virden could possibly win, but it seems unlikely that she will do so much until November, when she can raise money under the current law.
Photo by Tracy O made available via a Creative Commons license.
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