SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Ralph Nader's (search) name to be placed on New Mexico's Nov. 2 ballot as an independent presidential candidate, turning back a Democratic challenge to his candidacy.
The court announced its decision after deliberating for about 90 minutes following oral arguments in the case earlier Tuesday.
The New Mexico Democratic Party (search) brought a lawsuit against Nader after he was certified as a candidate by Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron (search). Nader filed nominating petitions Sept. 7 with signatures of about 31,000 voters — more than twice the required amount — to secure a spot on the ballot.
The ruling overturns a decision last week by state District Judge Theresa Baca, who said that Nader didn't qualify as an independent candidate in New Mexico because he's running in other states as the nominee for minor parties, including the Reform Party (search) in Florida and Colorado.
Nader is on the ballot in more than 30 states, but faces court challenges in some of those and is suing for ballot access in several others.
Also on Tuesday, a state judge in Maine ruled that Nader could remain on the ballot there, rejecting a challenge by the state Democratic Party.
Democrats worry that Nader will take some support from John Kerry, potentially giving President Bush the edge in New Mexico and other swing states considered critical by both parties in this year's election.
Bush lost the state in 2000 by 366 votes. Nader ran as the Green Party nominee four years ago and received about 4 percent of the vote in New Mexico.