Senate candidate Trooien seeks change in ballot ID

Posted 10:55 a.m. | Updated 1:55 p.m. with Secretary of State's Office response

Developer Jerry Trooien asked the Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday to order a change in how he’s listed on the U.S. Senate ballot.

Trooien filed a lawsuit requesting that he be listed as an "independent" rather than an "unaffiliated" candidate as he is now. He’s running for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Tina Smith. State Sen. Karin Housley is the Republican nominee.

Trooien is a St. Paul businessman who has put his own money into television commercials and other means of publicizing his long-shot bid. Spokesman Eric Woolson said the ballot identification matters.

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"Voters certainly weigh their words and their candidates choices very carefully. And they make a distinction between independent and unaffiliated," Woolson said.

He said Trooien wants the change quickly because it could change how he's perceived in polling, too. And his showing in polls could determine if he shares a debate stage with Smith and Housley.

Trooien's own submissions to get on the ballot -- including his signed affidavit of candidacy and required voter petitions -- identify him as "unaffiliated" in the portion where he's asked to list a party.

Early voting has already begun. Trooien wants the court to order the secretary of state’s office to make the change.

Secretary of State Steve Simon's office declined to comment on the pending litigation and said a response would be filed with the court next week.