(USA Features) Two Tallahassee Democrats have filed a lawsuit that seeks to keep Sen. Bernie Sanders off the state’s closed Democratic primary March 17.
Frank Bach and George Brown, both military veterans who are represented by former circuit court Judge Karen Gievers, argue in their suit that Sanders has long been registered as a political Independent in Congress and therefore should not now be able to run as a Democrat, POLITICO reported.
“Florida is a closed primary state, yet here we have someone who is an independent on the Democratic ballot,” Gievers said, according to POLITICO. “You can’t be an independent and be a member of the party.”
The suit also asks Florida election officials to nullify any votes that have already been cast for the Vermont senator in early voting, which likely would impact a significant number of the 244,000 Democrats who have already mailed in ballots.
Sanders and 15 other candidates are on the ballot currently for the March 17 contest. Florida is considered a must-win state for presidential nominees; President Trump won Florida in 2016.
Sanders has long identified as a political independent in the Senate, though he caucuses with Democrats generally. The Federal Election Commission’s records show he’s running for president as a Democrat.
Sanders signed a pledge in March 2019, after launching his presidential bid, declaring he was a Democrat.
“I am a member of the Democratic Party,” the signed pledge stated. “I will run as a Democrat, accept the nomination of my Party, and I will serve as a Democrat if elected.”