(WAVE) - A former CIA officer and member of the Secret Service who’s now running for Kentucky Secretary of State claims his nickname was intentionally removed from his candidate filings.
Carl “Trump” Nett on Monday morning issued a statement to media across the state, and also tweeted the statement, claiming that until Thursday, his full name “appeared on the Secretary of State’s website, under candidate filings, as Carl ‘Trump’ Nett. Further, the Secretary of State sent election mail addressed to Carl ‘Trump’ Nett at the candidate’s home address. Mr. Nett has invested thousands of dollars into his campaign, identifying himself as Carl ‘Trump’ Nett, the manner in which he intends to be listed on the ballot and by which he is lawfully entitled.” (Read his statement below)
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But Friday, "with only an intervening weekend before the Monday certification of names on the ballot to the county clerks, Mr. Nett learned from the Twitter feed of a local reporter, Joe Sonka, that he had apparently withdrawn his nickname from the ballot. Mr. Nett made no such withdrawal request and does not consent to such withdrawal. Mr. Nett has never received any communication from the Secretary of State Office stating that the nickname is improper or giving him opportunity to rebut his opponent's false assertions."
Nett’s website, Facebook page and Twitter page make zero references to the Trump nickname in the title or URL.
“My legitimate, bona fide nickname is Trump,” Nett told WAVE 3 News’ Connie Leonard on Monday. “Because of my early support of candidate Trump.”
Michael Adams, one of three others battling Nett for the Republican nomination, told WAVE 3 News on Monday that “state law explicitly prohibits adopting a nickname to gain an advantage on the ballot.” Adams, who has a law degree from Harvard, once served on the state Board of Elections.
Adams also said that when Nett ran unsuccessfully against Rep. Jim Wayne several years ago, Nett’s nickname was not Trump.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ office referred WAVE 3 News to a statement she issued on the matter Friday:
“Pursuant to the statutory authority granted to the Secretary of State by KRS 118.129(2), the Secretary of State’s Office determined that the candidate in question offered this so-called nickname in an improper attempt to gain an advantage on the ballot. Accordingly, the name of the candidate in question, Carl Nett, as reflected by the signature on his candidate filing papers, will be certified to appear on the ballot.”
Nett was born and raised in Louisville and has roots in Nelson and Hardin counties. Read more about Nett here.
Monday afternoon, he tweeted a photo of an envelope that shows a return address of Grimes’ office. It was addressed to Mr. Carl “Trump” Nett.
Nett said he’ll take legal action if his nickname is not on the ballot for the May primary.
The dustup isn’t Nett’s first bout with controversy. Last year, he drew heavy criticism for tweeting a threat to Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth. Yarmuth tweeted about the button he got showing his F rating from the NRA. When he tweeted a pledge to wear it on his lapel every day, Nett replied on Twitter: “Move it over just a bit. I was trained center mass." Following the backlash, Nett deleted the tweet and apologized to Yarmuth.