Judge Tosses Senate Hopeful Off Ballot Over Signatures

Democratic frontrunner Abby Finkenauer calls the ruling in Iowa 'outrageous'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2022 1:44 PM CDT
Judge Tosses Senate Hopeful Off Ballot Over Signatures
A 2020 file photo of Abby Finkenauer, who hopes to run for the Senate in Iowa.   (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP, File)

Republican Charles Grassley is favored to win his eighth term in the Senate no matter which Democrat he faces in the upcoming election. But his path to victory may have just gotten easier because of a court ruling against Democratic frontrunner Abby Finkenauer, reports CNN. A judge in Iowa ruled that the former congresswoman is ineligible to be on the Democratic primary ballot because of a challenge from Republicans to three signatures, reports the Des Moines Register. Like all candidates, Finkenauer had to provide 5,000 signatures, including at least 100 from 19 different counties. A state panel certified her signatures, but two Republicans filed a formal challenge, per the Hill.

They argued that three of the signatures were not properly dated, and Polk County District Judge Scott Beattie agreed with them in Sunday night's ruling. "The Court takes no joy in this conclusion," Beattie wrote. "This Court should not be in the position to make a difference in an election, and Ms. Finkenauer and her supporters should have a chance to advance her candidacy. However, this Court’s job is to sit as a referee and apply the law without passion or prejudice. It is required to rule without consideration of the politics of the day." Because of the ruling, Finkenauer no longer meets the 19-county requirement.

"This misguided, midnight ruling is an outrageous and partisan gift to the Washington Republicans who orchestrated this meritless legal action," Finkenauer said in response. Her team is assessing how to formally respond. That could be a legal appeal—which would have to be resolved by April 15 in order to make ballot-printing deadlines—or a decision to mount a write-in campaign. Two other Democrats already are competing in the Democratic primary. The Republicans who challenged the signatures are former GOP county elections officials, notes the AP. (More Charles Grassley stories.)

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