A Loudoun County judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against 87th District state House of Delegate candidate David Ramadan, saying the Republican can proceed with his campaign.
The ruling, issued by Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne, came after five Loudoun County voters challenged Ramadan's residency, saying they believed he still lived outside the 87th District and was ineligible to run for office.
Horne said he found Ramadan's testimony about where he lived credible.
In the end, the lawsuit came down to a question of whether Ramadan legally abandoned his home on Quits Pond Court in South Riding. Ramadan said he moved in April from the home which is in the 67th District to an American Square address in the 87th District.
In his ruling, Horne said that should a person move from one home to another, they must not only show the intent to abandon the former residence, but the intent to make the new home a permanent one.
Ramadan demonstrated intent, he said.
"Intent is a subjective matter and must be determined by the words of the voter and a consideration of the circumstances surrounding the move," the judge said.
Following the ruling on Friday, Ramadan called the lawsuit frivolous and said it was a waste of tax payer dollars.
"They wasted the court's time, the DMVs time, the post office's time, and the state police's time," he said. "This is what a frivolous lawsuit means and this is a text book example."
In a statement to the media, the candidate also said he would continue to knock on doors and prepare for the election. He faces Democrat Micheal Kondratick on Nov. 8.
"I have never stopped campaigning, with this matter resolved I can return to the campaign trail and the issues that matter most to the people of the 87th District like transportation and economic development," he added.
The suit against Ramadan was filed last month by Barbara Dixon, Eleanor Lockwood, Carl Wootten, Ruri Wootten and Margery Wallo. They were represented by Leesburg attorney Jonathan Moseley.
Also named in the lawsuit as defendants are the Virginia State Board of Elections and the Loudoun County Electoral Board. The lawsuit says the two exceeded their legal authority by registering Ramadan as a candidate.
In her brief testimony on Thursday, Dixon said she was part of the lawsuit because she was simply "asking for a clarification of actually where does Mr. Ramadan live?"
Wallo and Lockwood also gave similar responses on the stand.
"I've become aware since I moved here that politicians make musical chairs out of their residences in order to get in office and that seems wrong to me," Lockwood testified.
Clay Chase, husband of Jo-Ann Chase who ran against Ramadan in the Republican primary on Aug. 23, testified he became concerned about where Ramadan lived on July 5 after receiving an email from a resident.
On July 10, Chase said he decided to investigate the allegations further and drove past Ramadan's two addresses eight to 10 times in two weeks to see if he could get some clarity on the matter.
During the two weeks, Chase said he once saw Ramadan's vehicle parked at the Quits Pond Court home.
As the treasurer of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, Chase said any donations given to candidates from Ramadan prior to 2011 listed his Quits Pond Court address.
His wife, Jo-Ann Chase, eventually contacted the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office with their concerns, Chase said.
However, during a three-hour hearing on Thursday, former neighbors of Ramadan from Quits Pond Court all testified to never seeing the candidate at his home after April, when he changed his voter registration to the American Square address.
They all also testified to never seeing a moving van at the home.
A house underwater
Ramadan said he lived at the Quits Pond Court home from 2003 to April 2011.
In 2007, he and his wife signed a contract to have a townhouse built on American Square.
"Our intent was to move into it and make it our home," Ramadan testified.
However, the housing market plummeted and construction on the town home was delayed. At the same time, the value of his Quits Pond Court home dropped, he said, and he was unable to sell it without losing $30,000 to $40,000.
Ramadan moved into the town home in 2008, he said, and has spent "every Christmas, every Thanksgiving and every Easter there since."
The candidate said his wife still spends time at the Quits Pond Court home because she's a government employee and cannot have any activity related to campaigning on her record.
The utilities are still on at the home, Ramadan said, and he still receives those bills at that address.
For past coverage, see: Candidates Ramadan, Speakman come under fire over residency concerns