Nomination petition challenges rarely – if, ever – result in sanctions or attorneys’ fees awards. Kari Lake attorney Bryan Blehm decided to expand into these lawsuits this year, and today got sanctioned for basing the lawsuit on a non-existent residency clause in the Arizona Constitution.

Butler is running for the House in Legislative District 4. Busch/Blehm contended the Constitution required her to have lived in that district for at least one year. However, the requirement (in statute) is that she needs to have lived in Maricopa County for at least one year. (She has.)

Superior Court Judge Danielle Viola order Blehm and his client, Shelby Busch, to reimburse Kelli Butler $4,798.05 of her court costs and attorneys’ fees for filing the frivolous legal action to kick Butler off of the ballot.

“Here, Busch/Blehm pursued the candidate challenge alleging a residency requirement when the plain language of the Arizona Constitution does not contain a residency requirement. Butler encouraged Busch/Blehm to dismiss the claim based on the express language of the Arizona Constitution. Busch/Blehm failed to meet and confer. Busch/Blehm later failed to dismiss the claim or notify Butler that it would be dismissed until after the Motion to Dismiss was fully briefed.”

(Having worked in the nomination petition challenge area since 1992, sanctions against the attorney and/or the client is nearly unheard of.)

Butler and her attorney, Andy Gaona, had asked that Blehm’s actions also be reported to the State Bar – where he is already facing disciplinary actions for his Lake case(s). The judge did not address that in the Minute Entry (below)

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