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Losing legislative candidate sues state GOP

Losing legislative candidate sues state GOP

A former candidate for the Legislature has sued the Nebraska Republican Party, saying it distributed false and misleading publications that contributed to his defeat. Rex Moats, a Democrat, lost the District 39 seat in Omaha to Beau McCoy, a Republican, in November. Legislative races are officially nonpartisan. In mailings, the state Republican Party questioned Moats’ work with National Warranty Insurance Group. The vehicle-repair insurance company failed in 2003.

The party said Moats received a $50,000 trust fund from National Warranty and misled creditors and the public, among other things. One of its mailings was posed as a letter from Moats while vacationing in the Cayman Islands, where National Warranty was based. In the lawsuit filed Monday in Douglas County District Court, Moats says he never received a trust fund and did not make false or misleading statements. And, he says, he made one trip to the Cayman Islands — to work on its 2003 insolvency filing.

The lawsuit says the Republican mailings were “deliberate and unsubstantiated accusations intended to foment distrust or hatred against Mr. Moats.’’

Moats is seeking $50,400 in lost salary for four years as a state legislator and additional compensation to cover the expense of campaign materials to refute Republican claims, lost earning capacity and emotional distress. Mark Fahleson, chairman of the state Republican Party, said Wednesday: “The Democratic Party is the party of the trial lawyers, so it’s not surprising that litigation is the salve for the wounds Democrats sustained on Election Day.’’

Fahleson replaced Mark Quandahl in January, so he wasn’t in charge when the mailings were sent.

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