Krishanti Legality

Sri Lankan American Krishanti Vignarajah, a former policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama, has dropped her lawsuit against Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign and the state Board of Elections that sought a court ruling on her eligibility to run for governor. The Washington Post reported most of her contributions came from out-of-state donors and included money from Indian Americans and celebrities including Ashley Judd and Meryl Streep. (krishformaryland.com photo)

Krishanti Vignarajah, a Democratic candidate for the Maryland gubernatorial seat, has “voluntarily” dismissed her lawsuit filed against Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign and the state Board of Elections.

The Sri Lankan American, a former policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama, filed the suit in October seeking a court ruling on her eligibility to run (see India-West article here).

Attorneys for Vignarajah were scheduled to appear at a Jan. 30 hearing in Annapolis centered on a motion from the state to dismiss the case, but instead Vignarajah dropped the lawsuit on Jan. 29, according to online court records, the Bethesda Beat reported.

Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for the state’s Attorney General’s Office, said in an email to the publication that Vignarajah “voluntarily dismissed the case.”

She said the state’s Attorney General’s Office did not know why she decided to drop the case, according to the report.

“As we detailed in her pleading, Krish is absolutely eligible to run and serve as governor,” Andrew Herman, an attorney who represented Vignarajah in the case, said in a Jan. 30 statement. "In light of the defendants' concessions, we determined that no further litigation is necessary at this time."

Vignarajah previously registered and voted multiple times in Washington, D.C., from 2010 to 2014 while she worked in the State Department and White House, according to a Bethesda Beat report.

The state constitution requires a candidate for governor to have lived and been registered to vote in the state for at least five years leading up to the election.

Vignarajah has been registered in Maryland since 2006 and has maintained that she was never a permanent resident of D.C. She registered in Maryland at a Catonsville address, but now lives in Gaithersburg, the publication said.

The candidate asked the court to issue a binding declaration confirming her right to appear on the ballot and dispelling spurious claims and rumors circulated by her opponents that she is not a registered voter and resident of Maryland, the news release said.

State attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case in November. They wrote in their filing that it is impossible for anyone to challenge Vignarajah’s qualifications to run, as she has alleged, because she has not formally filed to run for governor, the report said.

Vignarajah has not filed her candidacy with the Board of Elections. She must first name a lieutenant governor running mate to do so. The filing deadline is Feb. 27. The primary election is set for June 26.

She reported raising $431,000 since launching her campaign in September, which included a personal loan of $100,000, the report said.

The Washington Post reported most of her contributions came from out-of-state donors and included money from Indian Americans and celebrities including Ashley Judd and Meryl Streep.

Vignarajah graduated from Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County and then attended Yale College, where she earned a master’s degree in political science and a B.S. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, where she received an M.Phil. in international relations, before returning to Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal.

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