The Missouri Court of Appeals has rejected Clay Chastain’s attempt to disqualify Kansas City Mayor Sly James from the June 23 ballot.
The appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that had dismissed Chastain’s lawsuit seeking to remove James from the ballot.
“We are grateful that the court of appeals agreed with us,” said attorney Patrick McInerney, who on Friday had argued the case for the mayor before the appeals court.
Chastain came in third in Kansas City’s three-way mayoral primary on April 7. After that, he sued, arguing that James had been late paying his property taxes earlier this year and could not run for re-election.
James came in first in the primary, followed by Vincent Lee. Both their names will appear on the June 23 general-election ballot.
Lee tried in late April to join Chastain’s lawsuit, but Jackson County Circuit Judge Joel Fahnestock ruled that Chastain lacked standing to sue and Lee had waited too long to join the case. The appeals court agreed.
Chastain said Monday he was frustrated by the ruling.
“The Missouri courts have shown once again that they are not looking out after the public’s interest, rather the interests of the powerful,” he said.
Chastain, who lives in Virginia, said he is probably done with his longtime political activism in Kansas City, although he noted that Lee could explore whether to appeal the case further. The Missouri Supreme Court accepts only a fraction of the appeal requests it receives.
In a statement Monday, Lee said that James escaped being removed from the ballot on a technicality, and that if James wins re-election, he should be removed from office by the attorney general or a prosecutor from one of the counties in which Kansas City is located.