The national Reform Party has sent former madam and current gubernatorial candidate Kristin Davis a cease and desist email demanding that she “immediately change the name under which [she is] seeking to run for Governor.” Ms. Davis has been running on a party line of her own making, also called the Reform Party.
David Collison, the Reform Party National Committee chairman, sent the email (copied in full below) to Ms. Davis on June 29. The national Reform Party coalesced around Ross Perot’s presidential campaigns in the 1990s. But in New York, Mr. Perot ran on the Independence Party line. Even so, the legal questions surrounding the issue are so arcane—and rife with potentially expensive litigation—that Ms. Davis said today she’d rather just change her party name.
Ms. Davis, who ran a prostitution ring that she claims supplied former Governor Eliot Spitzer with call girls, is now herself running for governor on a platform of marijuana, gambling and prostitution legalization, and the recognition of gay marriage.
“We kind of hit a nice little roadblock there,” Ms. Davis said.
Her adviser, Roger Stone, said that now, as far as party names are concerned, they’re back to square one.
“We’re looking at a series of other names,” Mr. Stone said. “We looked at the Surprise Party. The Citizens Party. We looked at the Hookers and Pot Party. We looked at the Marijuana Legalization Party. There were problems with that. We considered the Freedom Party, then we found out Charles Barron, the fiery black civil rights advocate and council member, was filing under that.
“So we’re still wrangling for a name.”
In a statement, Mr. Collison of the Reform Party explained his position: “It was our hope that the situation would be settled quickly and amicably prior to her starting the petitioning process. I’m glad we were able to do so. We don’t want to cause Ms. Davis any harm, but we can not allow someone to simply adopt the use of our name either.”
“…[Ms. Davis'] platform focused primarily on legalizing marijuana, legalizing gambling, and legalizing prostitution,” Mr. Collison continued. “None of these issues are areas where the Reform Party focuses. Instead we focus on fiscal responsibility, creating jobs (especially in manufacturing and small businesses), and more limited Federal Government. We do not take a left or right position on what we consider ‘values issues like wholesale drug legalization.”
Here’s the letter:
I was forwarded a press release stating that you were seeking to run for Governor in New York as a Reform Party candidate.
Please be advised that, like the Libertarians, the Reform Party is a National Party Organization with a presence across the country. While we do not have a ballot line in New York at this time, we do have an existing organization there, with existing leadership, and a formal process for both joining that organization and seeking to use the Reform Party name for seeking elected office.
Likewise, we have several court rulings, including a recent summary judgment in NY Federal Court, clearly showing that we have the rights to use and control the use of the Reform Party name nationally. We have National Party Committee status. We have a functioning Reform Party organization inNew York.
The purpose of this communication is to ask you to immediately change the name under which you are seeking to run for Governor. We have an established process for joining a Reform Party organization, and for seeking to run for office under the Reform Party service mark, and you have not followed that process. I understand that there is still sufficient time to change your ballot line title before you begin the petitioning process. I believe that doing so will save both the Reform Party and your campaign significant legal issues.
Thank you for your consideration
Chairman, Reform Party National Committee 2008-2012