PALM DESERT — Former TV star Ralph Waite must go to court to change his voter registration if he wants to run for the late Sonny Bono's congressional seat.
Riverside County election officials told Waite that nothing in the state's elections code allows them to change his party affiliation to Democrat, Assistant Registrar John Wilber said.
Waite, who played Pa Walton on the 1970s television series "The Waltons," wants to run as a Democrat in the April 7 special election to replace Bono, who died in a Jan. 5 skiing accident. Bono's widow, Mary, announced last week that she will run as a Republican.
Waite was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the 44th Congressional District seat in 1990. However, he failed to select a party affiliation on his most recent voter registration card after moving from Rancho Mirage to Palm Desert in 1994.
Election laws require that a candidate be a member of the party he represents for at least three months prior to the filing deadline.