Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer announced on Monday that she would appeal a judge’s ruling that she did not have enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.
Finkenauer, a former one-term congresswoman who lost her 2020 re-election bid, is one of the Democrats to mount a long-running bid to unseat seven-term Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
Two Iowa Republicans challenged Finkenauer’s signatures after she submitted her paperwork to the secretary of state’s office in March. They alleged that she failed to obtain at least 100 eligible signatures from at least 19 Iowa counties.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office initially accepted Finkenauer’s signatures when they were submitted.
Republicans who filed the challenge opposed three signatures, one from Allamakee County and two from Cedar County. Last month, a state panel rejected that challenge and determined that Finkenauer had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Judge Scott Beattie found the state panel’s decision to dismiss the challenge was flawed because the signers failed to include the date with their signatures when filing the petition, as required by state law. . He said the law does not allow the court to infer the date based on the dates listed by the other petition signatories.
Beattie’s decision to overturn the state panel’s decision put Finkenauer below the 100 signatures she would need from those counties to qualify for the ballot.
“The Court is not pleased with this finding,” Beattie wrote in her decision. “This Court should not be able to make a difference in an election, and Ms. Finkenauer and her supporters should have a chance to advance her candidacy. However, the job of this Court is to sit as an arbiter and to apply the law without passion or prejudice.He is bound to govern without regard to the politics of the day.
In addition to required county signatures, campaigns must collect at least 3,500 signatures in total. Finkenauer’s campaign said it submitted more than 5,000 signatures from Iowans supporting his candidacy.
Finkenauer blasted Beattie’s decision, calling it “deeply partisan,” and said she plans to appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
“We refuse to back down from these partisan attacks,” Finkenauer said in a statement. “We are confident that we have met all of the requirements to be on the ballot, and we will not stop fighting back against this meritless attack that seeks to silence the voices of tens of thousands of Iowans.”
The Iowa primary is scheduled for June 7, and overseas absentee ballots must be mailed to voters by April 23. on or about Friday, April 15.”
Retired Navy admiral Mike Franken and medical doctor Glenn Hurst are also seeking the Democratic nomination.