San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney — a candidate in the ongoing California State Assembly race — on Thursday filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court calling on the state to refrain from using “civil rights attorney” to describe his opponent.
During the recent Feb. 15 state assembly primary election, Haney and opponent David Campos garnered the most votes of the four total candidates, meaning Campos and Haney will now face off in a runoff election on April 19.
Haney’s lawsuit names California Secretary of State Shirley Weber as a defendant and seeks a writ of mandate to strike “civil rights attorney” from the ballot when referring to Campos. Weber’s office approved Campos’ use of the description for voting materials back in December.
“Campos’ proposed ballot designation is not an accurate description of his current profession, vocation, or occupation and if permitted, will mislead voters,” according to the lawsuit.
Campos, a Harvard Law School graduate, is former San Francisco supervisor and most recently served as chief of staff to District Attorney Chesa Boudin before entering the race.
Campos has defended his use of the description, citing work to address police bias and hate crimes, as well as working with people claiming to be wrongfully convicted. Additionally, according to Campos, he previously described himself as a civil rights attorney when he first ran for the city’s Board of Supervisors back in 2008.
“Matt Haney is saying with this baseless lawsuit that he does not think addressing bias in policing, fighting hate crimes, and freeing the innocent qualifies as civil rights work,” Campos’s Campaign Manager Daniel Anderson said in a statement on Monday.
Haney’s lawsuit is set to be heard in front of a judge on Tuesday.