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Democrat Matt Morgan on Friday lost his appeal to get his name restored to the August primary ballot in his bid to unseat freshmen Republican Rep. Jack Bergman in the U.S. House.

Morgan had asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to reverse a recent Board of State Canvassers ruling that denied him a ballot spot over technical issues with his nominating petitions. At issue was the use of the campaign's Post Office box in the heading of the nominating petitions, rather than a street address or rural route, as required by state election law.

In a 2-1 decision, the court panel said the Board of State Canvassers was "entirely within its discretion to reject the petition forms because the lack of street address or rural route was plain on the face of the forms."

In a dissent, Judge Douglas Shapiro said that, due to "ambiguity" in the law and the lack of argument from the state that a P.O. Box is not an "address," he would have found Morgan in compliance with the statute. 

Morgan was the only Democrat to file by the deadline to run for Congress in the 1st District, which includes the Upper Peninsula and the northern third of the Lower Peninsula.

His campaign said it wouldn't appeal the court's decision but pursue a primary write-in campaign in an effort to appear on the November general election ballot.

“Angie and I are grateful for the continued support of folks all over northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula who want to see leadership and sanity restored to Washington,” Morgan said in a statement, referring to his wife, Angie.

“While we are disappointed by the Court of Appeals decision, our supporters will have voice in the August primary, and I will be on the ballot in November.” 

13th District ballot

In Metro Detroit, the Wayne County clerk's office disqualified three candidates seeking to run in the congressional primary to replace resigned Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit. 

Democrats Kimberly Hill Knott, Mary Waters and Kentiel D. White were disqualified after staff reviewed their nominating petitions and determined they each had insufficient valid signatures, said Lisa Williams-Jackson, spokeswoman for Clerk Cathy Garrett.

Waters and White were running in a special primary election to complete the last couple months of Conyers' current term, while Knott was running for the two-year term that starts in 2019. 

mburke@detroitnews.com

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