Judge’s Ruling Blocks Finkenauer from Ballot
In the rough and tumble world of Federal politics, a hardball was thrown at the campaign of former Rep. Abby Finkenauer. The issue is over candidate signatures required to qualify for the June 7 Primary ballot.
Two former Republican county elections officials, Kim Schmett and Leanne Pellett challenged the signatures submitted by the campaign of Abby Finkenauer. She seeks the Democratic nomination to challenge longtime U.S. Senator Charles Grassley.
According to the complaint filed by Republicans, Finkenauer's campaign submitted signatures from at least two counties that are alleged to be missing a required date associated with voter signatures.
Iowa law requires candidates to obtain 3,500 names, including a minimum of 100 signatures from at least 19 counties.
Judge Scott Beattie ruled late Sunday night to overturn a three-member panel's earlier decision favoring Finkenauer. The panel included Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, Attorney General Tom Miller, and Auditor Rob Sand. Democrats Miller and Sand voted in Finkenauer's favor.
Last week, citing precedent, the panel found that Finkenauer's campaign had essentially complied with Iowa law. However, the Republicans argued that Finkenauer's campaign had several signatures without the associated dates required by law.
Judge Bettie, appointed by Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, issued a statement saying his decision to keep Finkenauer off the ballot was following the letter of the law and not influenced by politics.
However, Finkenauer's campaign is crying foul and signals a likely appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court. As a result, she now faces new hurdles in her challenge to Grassley and the clock is ticking to get her name placed on the ballot before absentee ballots are printed and mailed within weeks.
"Our campaign submitted more than 5,000 signatures—1,500 more signatures than are required to qualify for the ballot. We are confident that we have met the requirements to be on the ballot," said Finkenauer's campaign Twitter account.
Finkenauer's campaign continued with several more tweets punching back at the D.C. republican establishment, adding, "Chuck Grassley's allies in Washington are going to continue launching attack after attack on me—no matter how weak and partisan—because they know we have the momentum to win this race. We are not going to stop. We will defeat Chuck Grassley in November,"
The two other Democrats seeking the nomination appear to be issue-free. As a result, they will likely have their names on the June 7 Primary election ballot.
Those candidates include retired Navy admiral Mike Franken and Dr. Glenn Hurst, a Minden City Council member.
The Democrat primary winner will face Grassley, a seasoned Republican politician completing his 42nd year in the U.S. Senate. Grassley is seeking his eighth senate term.