Democratic candidate Vignarajah drops lawsuit to affirm eligibility to run for Maryland governor

Krish Vignarajah, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, has voluntarily withdrawn a lawsuit asking a judge to affirm her eligibility to run for the office, court records show.

In a development first reported by Bethesda Magazine, the former aide in the Obama White House dropped her action Monday. Vignarajah said Wednesday that the move does not mean she’s dropping out of the race. She said she still plans to file for the office and name a running mate before the Feb. 27 deadline.

The magazine reported last year that Vignarajah, though registered in Maryland, had voted in Washington multiple times while she was working as an aide to first lady Michelle Obama — most recently in 2014. The state Constitution requires a gubernatorial candidate to have lived and been registered in the state for the five years preceding the election.

Vignarajah responded to the questions by filing suit, naming as defendants the State Board of Elections, one of its employees and the re-election campaign of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Her attorneys said they sued the agency and the governor’s campaign because they had raised questions about her eligibility. None of Vignarajah’s Democratic rivals in the June 26 primary was named in the suit.

The candidate maintained that even though she voted in Washington while working there, she never let her Maryland registration lapse. She has said she did not vote in two jurisdictions in the same election.

The magazine reported that attorneys for the state sought dismissal of the suit in November, arguing that nobody had challenged Vignarajah’s eligibility because she had not yet filed to run for the office.

Vignarajah said she withdrew the suit because the plaintiffs had made concessions. She said Dirk Haire, lawyer for the Hogan campaign and the state’s GOP chairman, said his statements about her eligibility were made in his party capacity rather than for the campaign. Vignarajah said the state board had also stipulated that it had no substantive objections to ger candidacy.

A Gonzales Maryland poll released Jan. 10 found Vignarajah won the support of 1.6 percent of respondents if the crowded Democratic primary were held today.

Vignarajah, like all of her six Democratic rivals but one, has not yet named a running mate.

mdresser@baltsun.com

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