TOLEDO — The incoming Cumberland County state's attorney may have broken at least the spirit of a new state law designed to prevent independents from running after voting in a party primary in the same election year.
Jonathan Braden won decisively Tuesday as an independent after voting as a Republican in the March 20 primary, beating a long time Republican incumbent and a Democrat challenger. But House Bill 2009, passed in March, prohibited anyone with an established political party from running as an independent candidate or as a different party's candidate in the general election immediately following. The bill was effective immediately after passing.
Braden said he was aware of the law when he began assembling his petition to run as an independent in June and that he had some concerns about objections being filed.
"The general population had a chance to file an objection," he said. "I was calling the circuit clerk every day to see if anyone was filing an objection. We had a process in place to challenge it if there were any objections."
This is the same law that prevented Fayette County State's Attorney Stephen Friedel from running as an independent for Shelby County judge.The state Board of Elections confirmed Braden is the first candidatein the state to win an election under the new law after getting through July without objections.
Braden said he has been against the law since it passed on March 30, just 10 days after the primary. He said he views the law as unconstitutional and continued to run as an independent with the intent to challenge the law's validity if he was disallowed from running.
"It's hard to know what's going to happen," he said. "I have no control over if anybody's going to challenge it.