March 28, 2018 (Rocklin, CA) – Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steven M. Gevercer today rejected congressional candidate Jessica Morse’s 4th-choice ballot designation of “National Security Fellow.”
While acknowledging that Morse has an “interest in National Security,” Judge Gevercer ruled that she presented “no credible evidence” to use the ballot designation of “National Security Fellow.” Instead, he held that this title would mislead the average person about her recent activities.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla had previously rejected Morse’s desired ballot designation of “National Security Strategist” and her alternate designations of “National Security Advisor” and “National Security Specialist.”
Morse, who has campaigned for nearly a year as a self-described ‘National Security Strategist,’ will now appear on the ballot with no designation at all.
After rejecting “National Security Fellow” as her ballot designation, Judge Gevercer granted Morse’s attorney’s request that she be allowed to submit an alternate designation. Following negotiations to discuss acceptable alternative designations, however, Morse opted to go without a ballot designation.
Morse’s title of “National Security Fellow” was challenged in Sacramento Superior Court by Democratic congressional candidate Regina Bateson, represented by attorney Andrew Werbrock of Remcho, Johansen & Purcell LLP. Morse and Bateson are vying to replace Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) in California’s 4th Congressional District.
The legal complaint argued that “Ms. Morse’s ballot designation and alternative designations are false, misleading, and violate the Elections Code” because Morse “has not worked in the area of national security since at least 2015. Instead, she left government employment in that year to become a self-described ‘starving artist’ and has not held compensated employment since November 2016.”
In her reply, Morse’s legal team sought to justify her proposed title of “National Security Fellow” by providing evidence that she is a “political partner” of the Truman National Security Project.
In the hearing Wednesday, Judge Gevercer identified the Truman National Security Project as a “networking agency.” Members have to pay yearly dues to participate, and it does not meet the standards of a “principal profession, vocation, or occupation” as outlined by California law.
“The facts speak for themselves,” said Emma Lindsey-Severns, Bateson’s campaign manager. “We are glad the voters will be getting accurate information about the candidates appearing on the ballot. In this era of ‘alternative facts,’ truth, honesty, and transparency are more important than ever.”
The legal case follows months of controversy about Morse’s record. In February, the Sacramento Bee launched an independent investigation into Morse’s professional qualifications. The Bee found that on the campaign trail, Morse has been making “claims about her experience [that] are misleading or stretch the truth.”
Morse is backed by The Arena PAC, a DC-based group run by Obama campaign alums. In late February, delegates to the California Democratic Party state convention chose to endorse Morse, even though the majority of Democratic club members in the district had previously voted to support Bateson.
Bateson, an award-winning researcher who specializes in military and security affairs, lives in Roseville with her husband and three children.
Bateson’s complaint can be downloaded by clicking here.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s response can be downloaded by clicking here.
Bateson's reply can be downloaded by clicking here.
Judge Gevercer's decision can be downloaded by clicking here.
For More Information Contact:
Campaign Manager, Bateson For Congress
1 (916) 547-1944
Remcho, Johansen & Purcell LLP
1 (510) 346-6214