Rose Acres’ Rust sues to get on ballot as Senate candidate

A state law that pertains to party affiliation during prior primary elections is preventing John Rust’s name from appearing on ballots.

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John Rust, chairman of Rose Acre Farms
John Rust, chairman of Rose Acre Farms
John Rust | X

Rose Acre Farms Chairman John Rust filed a lawsuit that challenges an Indiana state law that is preventing his name from appearing on ballots for an upcoming primary election.

Rust earlier this year announced he was running for a seat in the United States Senate. He seeks to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana.

Rust is running as a Republican, but because of a state statute that requires a candidate to have voted as a member of one particular party during the past two primary elections in order to become a candidate for that party.

According to an Indy Star report, Rust voted as a Republican in the 2016 primary but as a Democrat in the 2012 primary. He did not vote in the 2020 primary, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of contested Republican primary races during that particular election cycle. Rust told WFYI he had previously registered as a Democrat to give him the ability to vote for friends who was seeking office as a member of that party, but he always identified himself as a Republican.

Rust’s lawsuit described the law as “unconstitutionally vague and overly broad.”

In a tweet, Rust linked to the Indy Star article and wrote: “This is why I’m running to be Indiana’s next United States Senator. I will fight for Hoosiers every day. I am fighting now for the 80 percent of Hoosier voters who are ineligible to run for office. The political establishment is against us but we will prevail.”

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, is also seeking Braun’s seat and has garnered the endorsement of the Indiana Republican Party. He has been critical of Rust’s candidacy and even accused him of egg price gouging. He is also dismissive of Rust’s lawsuit.

"No one is trying to keep him off the ballot, he just thinks he's above the law and can throw his money around to buy a U.S. Senate seat," Banks said.

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