Chairman Essmann Statement on MTGOP’s Motion to Dismiss Closed Primary Lawsuit
HELENA, MT – Chairman Jeff Essmann issued the following statement on the Montana Republican Party’s recent decision to dismiss the closed primary lawsuit:
The Executive Board of the Montana Republican Party, after much discussion and deliberation, passed a motion to direct Jim Brown, the attorney representing the State Party, to seek to dismiss the case challenging the constitutionality of the Montana open primary law.
“The board’s decision was to dismiss the case without prejudice which would not prevent future legal review of the issue if a legislative resolution of the issue does not occur in the meantime,” said Chairman Essmann. “We hope that all parties to the matter will agree that there is no need for the expense of a trial to be incurred at this point.”
Based on the prior rulings of the court denying the parties constitutional arguments, the attorney for the State Party and the attorney for the 10 County Republican Central Committees agreed that the likelihood of success at trial was low.
An important factor in the discussion was the presence of a similar case brought by the Hawaii Democrat Party challenging the Hawaii open primary law that is also pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Montana Republican Party will have the ability to file a supportive friend of the court brief as the Hawaii case proceeds.