Krish Vignarajah Not Ready for Prime Time

If there was any doubt that Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Krish Vignarajah is in over her head, those doubts were put to rest yesterday:

A Democrat running for Maryland governor is asking a judge to decide whether she is legally eligible to seek the office, requesting a “binding declaration confirming her right to appear on the ballot.”

Krishanti Vignarajah announced plans to run for governor in August, but questions have been raised since then about her voter registration and residency status.

Under the state constitution, a candidate for governor must be at least 30 years old and have been both a Maryland resident and registered voter for the five years immediately preceding the election.

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Vignarajah, who was a policy aide for former first lady Michelle Obama, filed the lawsuit Friday seeking a declaratory judgment in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

She named Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign, the state Board of Elections and Mary Wagner, the director of voter registration for the state election board, as defendants.

According to the legal filing, Vignarajah named Wagner and Hogan because of comments Wagner and Dick Haire, Hogan’s campaign lawyer, made to reporters about Vignarajah’s eligibility.

If you are like most people, you probably think it’s a bit bass ackwards to declare that you are running for Governor before determining if you are actually eligible to run for Governor, but that would require a political sophistication or a knowledge of Maryland state law that Vignarajah does not actually possess.

The real fun aspect of this suit is the fact that Governor Hogan’s campaign has been made a defendant based solely on the comments of Dirk Haire, who is also chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. Vignarajah’s inclusion of the Governor’s campaign is a little more than a way to try to drag the Governor into her problems when her problems were a creation of her own doing.

The real kicker is that Vignarajah names no Democrats in her suit. Which is a different tune than her campaign was singing back in August:

“Kris is a lifelong resident of Maryland,” Rabin said. “She was given the opportunity of her life to serve in the Obama administration. … For a few years while she was working in the State Department and the White House, she had a second residence in D.C., which is fairly typical for White House staffers because of the hours they have to work.”

He said questions about whether she is eligible to become governor, which requires that a resident be registered in the state for five years before an election, were brought about by potential challengers who he would not name.

“We do think it’s disappointing that some Democrats in a primary are trying to bring Trump-style politics to Maryland and are trying to make the same sort of outlandish attacks that the president tried to make about President Obama’s birthplace,” Rabin said.

So in August the Vignarajah campaign was blaming Democrats for leaking the fact that she is constitutionally ineligible to run for Governor, but refused to identify the Democrats in questions. However when it was time to file paperwork in court, Vignarajah and her team pivot away from blaming Democrats and instead blames the Governor’s campaign that had absolutely no involvement in leaking her registration status in the first place.

To quote Vince Lombardi…

It’s very clear that the Democratic establishment got to Vignarajah to stop aiming her fire at the Democrats who did in wrong, and instead decided to try to drag Governor Hogan’s campaign into a suit that they have absolutely no business being a defendant in. If Vignarajah were so put off by the Democrats who did her wrong, she’d have included them in her suit.

Of course who is an is not a defendant should not overshadow the silliness of this attempt at a declaratory injunction in the first place. It is plain as day that Vignarajah does not meet the registration requirements to run for Governor, much as Charles Lollar did not meet the requirements when he attempted to run in 2010, or Brian Vaeth when he was disqualified from the ballot in 2014. Given her voting in D.C. as recently as 2014 this is an open and shut case based solely on precedent. That Vignarajah thinks that the rules should not apply to her shows the kind of D.C. insider arrogance that does not translate well to Maryland politics. She knows that she is not eligible to run, but decided to announce first and ask questions later. That’s far from the kind of leadership that Maryland wants in any sort of elected office.

Krish Vignarajah isn’t ready for prime time, and her announcement shows it.

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