Chris Mathys is suing California's Secretary of State in an effort for his ballot designation to be "Trump Conservative/Businessman." Photo via Mathys for Congress

published on March 21, 2022 - 2:05 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Former Fresno City Council member Chris Mathys has sued California’s Secretary of State over his preferred ballot designation as a “Trump Conservative/Businessman.”

Mathys, who is CEO of Fresno-based Oro Financial, is running to unseat Rep. David Valadao in the 22nd District. Mathys served on the Fresno City Council from 1997 to 2001.

He is suing Secretary of State Shirley Weber in Sacramento Superior Court for rejecting his ballot designation of “Trump Conservative/Businessman” on official state election materials.

In the Feb. 28 rejection letter, Weber’s office informed Mathys his designation did not meet California law requiring ballot designations to consist of no more than three words designating the candidate’s current profession.

“The designation ‘Trump Conservative’ does not constitute a current profession, vocation, or occupation,” according to the Secretary of State letter. “The term ‘Conservative’ is deemed a status, which is an inappropriate ballot designation…”

Mathys’ lawsuit argues that his ballot designation is no different than the terms “incumbent/businessman” or “legislator attorney” that appear on ballot materials.

“Our founders who created a citizen’s government never intended it to be an occupation,” according to the lawsuit. “They were called on to be public servants and this is why the word legislator and/or incumbent are not occupations but adjectives, like Chief engineer, is an engineer or head foreman, is a foreman.”

A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday.

“I am looking forward to my day in court. My campaign believes that the best description for who I am and what I do is ‘Trump Conservative/Businessman,’” Mathys said in a statement. “I have a right to self-identify as well as my right to choose a ballot designation that aligns with my principals without discrimination.”

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