A dispute recently arose out of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. Michael Griffie challenged Adam Hollier’s candidacy and alleged that Hollier filed “a faulty affidavit of identity attesting that he had no outstanding campaign finance issues.” From the Michigan Court of Appeals order in Griffie v. Wayne County Election Commission:
To begin with, guidance issued by the Secretary of State specifically excepts “candidates seeking federal elective office” from the pertinent Affidavit-of-Identity (AOI) requirement, which is evidently based on the Secretary’s altogether reasonable view that said state-law requirement is preempted by federal law or would be unconstitutional as applied to federal candidates. Indeed, although we need not reach those important federal-law issues to decide the instant case, were we to do so, we would be inclined to agree with the trial court’s well-reasoned opinion that the disputed state-law requirement does not apply to a candidate for federal office in the first instance. See generally US Const, Art I, § 2; 52 USC 30143 (providing that the “the provisions of [the Federal Election Campaign Act] . . . supersede and preempt any provision of State law with respect to election to Federal office”); US Term Limits, Inc v Thornton, 514 US 779; 115 S Ct 1842; 131 L Ed 2d 881 (1995) (holding that qualifications for candidates for federal office may not be altered except by amendment to the United States Constitution); Cipollone v Liggett Group, Inc, 505 US 504, 517; 112 S Ct 2608; 120 L Ed 2d 407 (1992) (“When Congress has considered the issue of pre-emption and has included in the enacted legislation a provision explicitly addressing that issue, and when that provision provides a reliable indicium of congressional intent with respect to state authority, there is no need to infer congressional intent to pre-empt state laws from the substantive provisions of the legislation.”).
There are some caveats, of course (the court says it won’t reach the issue, then does), and the court addresses both the Article I and the statutory campaign finance preemption issues. A similar issue arose in 2020 with a dispute relating to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s challenger. That case never met it to the merits, but I argued such a rule would be an impermissible additional qualification. Glad to see the Michigan courts agree, consistent with Secretary of State guidance.