Judge refuses to block Virginia GOP primary loyalty pledge

WLNI-campaign-2016RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal judge has rejected a bid by Donald Trump supporters to block the use of a party affiliation statement in Virginia’s Republican presidential primary. U.S. District Judge Hannah Lauck declined to issue a preliminary injunction Thursday. GOP leaders last month persuaded the Virginia State Board of Elections to require voters in the party’s March 1 primary to sign a statement affirming that they are Republicans. Three black pastors are sued, arguing that the “loyalty oath” violates their civil and free-speech rights. In denying the request for a preliminary injunction, Lauck said the plaintiffs have failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claims. Trump is not involved in the lawsuit but has criticized the pledge requirement, saying it will drive away new GOP voters.

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