Friday, March 31

Finkenauer to challenge ruling keeping her off Democratic primary ballot in Iowa

Former Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) is challenging a state judge’s ruling that she is not permitted to appear on the Democratic primary ballot for the Hawkeye State’s Senate race.

District Judge Scott Beattie of the 5th Judicial District of Iowa issued a ruling on Sunday that said Finkenauer did not submit enough signatures to appear on the ballot as is required by state law and therefore cannot be listed. The decision reversed a previous ruling made by the State Objections Panel.

Finkenauer, however, now says she will seek to take Beattie’s decision, which she called “deeply partisan,” to the state Supreme Court.

“After careful review, I have decided to challenge this deeply partisan decision to the Iowa Supreme Court,” Finkenauer said in a statement.

Finkenauer, retired Navy Adm. Mike Franken and Minden City Councilman Glenn Hurst are all running for the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley, 88, is running for his eighth term representing Iowa in the upper chamber.

Finkenauer lost her bid for reelection to the House in 2020.

Drama began unfolding in the Hawkeye State when Finkenauer submitted her nomination petition to the secretary of state’s office in March. Kim Schmett and Leanne Pellett, who were registered Republicans at the time, filed objections later that month, taking issue with three of the signatures on Finkenauer’s petition.

One of the dates appeared to be incorrect, and another was blank, according to Beattie’s ruling issued on Sunday.

Iowa state law mandates that individuals seeking to appear on a ballot for a political office submit at least 3,500 signatures from “electors,” including at least 100 signatures from 19 different counties.

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The State Objections Panel denied the ruling from Schmett and Pellett, asserting that Finkenauer “substantially complied” with the law.

Beattie’s ruling, however, reversed that decision.

“In a massive gift to Washington Republicans, this partisan decision overrules both the Republican Secretary of State’s Office and the bipartisan panel, ignores decades of precedent, interferes in the electoral process, and makes a mockery of our democracy,” Finkenauer wrote.

“It’s clear now more than ever: Republicans are scared of the campaign we’re building. They’ve gone to historic lengths to slow us down because they know Chuck Grassley is more vulnerable than ever, and that we can beat him in November,” she added.

Finkenauer said her campaign refuses “to back down in the face of these partisan attacks,” adding that “we are confident that we have met every requirement 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.”

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