Mark Fisher, the gubernatorial hopeful suing the state Republican Party for excluding him from the GOP primary ballot, said today his campaign was well on its way to collecting more than the 10,000 signatures necessary to be an official candidate for governor.
Last week, a Suffolk Superior Court judge set a June trial date in Fisher’s civil suit, which alleges the state GOP unfairly kept him from garnering enough delegate votes at last month’s party convention to qualify for the September primary ballot.
But even if the judge rules in Fisher’s favor, he will still need to meet the state requirements to be a candidate.
Party candidates for governor must collect 10,000 signatures from registered Massachusetts voters, have them certified with local elections officials, and submit them to the secretary of state by June 3. The raw signatures are due to local officials for certification by May 6 — next Tuesday.
In a telephone interview from his manufacturing business in Auburn, Fisher said a combination of volunteers and paid signature gatherers had already exceeded that number.
“We have more than 10,000 raw. What the exact number is, I don’t know,” he said, adding that they would continue collecting signatures, so that when some are not certified, the campaign would have a cushion.
Fisher struck a bullish tone on his prospects, saying he was “absolutely” confident that he would have enough to make the ballot.
But asked whether he thought his lawsuit and the publicity surrounding it was hurting his party, he sighed and became more subdued.
“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do,” he said. “In the long run, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”
Fisher added: “It’s bad press for everybody.”
Charlie Baker, who the state party said is the sole Republican qualified to be the party’s gubernatorial nominee, has expressed hope through a spokesman for a fair resolution of the case.
Five Democrats, three independent candidates and a Libertarian are also running to succeed Governor Deval Patrick.Joshua Miller can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.