Carl Nett

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A judge has ruled that a man who is in the running to be Kentucky's next Secretary of State will not be allowed to use a controversial nickname on the voting ballot.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled Monday that Carl Nett will not be able to have the nickname "Trump" appear as part of his name on the ballot.

In his ruling, Wingate wrote that Nett "does not have a legal right to use 'Trump' as a nickname in an election; to deny him the use of the nickname on the ballot does not violate his constitutional rights."

Wingate also wrote, "To add a politically charged nickname on a primary ballot would provide an inherently unfair advantage to that candidate because it is an immediate reminder of the candidate's messaging and political leanings that his opponent would not also have."

Nett, a Republican, filed to run on the ballot as Carl “Trump” Nett, however, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes removed the nickname prior to certifying ballot names.

In November of last year, Nett filed paperwork for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.

Nett previously testified that members of the Jefferson County Republican Party gave him the nickname of "Trump" at the 2015 Kentucky State Fair, according to court documents.

The nickname was taken off the ballot after an opponent in the Secretary of State race filed a complaint claiming the “Trump” nickname could help Nett in the upcoming May primary.

Nett previously spoke with WDRB about the issue saying, “This is subjective. It's not about claiming the president's endorsement or even endorsing the president, which I do. It’s simply about recognition and so voters are able to identify me as the guy they know or have heard about.”

According to statute, a candidate may use “a title, rank, degree, job description, or spurious phrase ... only if it is the candidate’s bona fide nickname.” To prove that, a candidate must submit affidavits of at least five residents from the same county as they are from claiming the same. Nett says he submitted seven.

“I'm in compliance with the statutes. As of right now, the Secretary of State's office is not in compliance with the statues," said Nett in a previous interview with WDRB.

Read the judge's full ruling below:


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