Iowa Judge Blocks US Senate Candidate From Appearing on Primary Ballot

Iowa Judge Blocks US Senate Candidate From Appearing on Primary Ballot Iowa Judge Blocks US Senate Candidate From Appearing on Primary Ballot Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, introduces Democrat presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, on Jan. 3, 2020 in Independence, Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By Jay Clemons | Monday, 11 April 2022 02:24 PM

A U.S. Senate hopeful in Iowa cannot appear on the state's June 7 primary ballot, a district court judge ruled Sunday.

Democrat Abby Finkenauer's candidacy for the Senate apparently will have to wait another term. During the weekend, Judge Scott Beattie declared that certain signatures procured by Finkenauer's campaign were not dated properly — thus rendering the contested signatures invalid.

Finkenauer, who had plans of participating in the June 7 Democrat primary, and then possibly taking on longtime incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in November, reportedly will appeal Judge Beattie's decision.

According to the Washington Examiner, Finkenauer's campaign had tallied 100 signatures in Iowa's Allamakee County and 101 in Cedar County. However, Republican petitioners successfully challenged one signature in Allamakee and two in Cedar — which dropped the official signature count below the minimum threshold of 100 for both items.

Early in the dispute between Finkenauer's camp and Iowa Republicans, the Des Moines Register reported a state panel originally had sided with Finkenauer, citing the rationale of other signatures around the contested one showing similar dates.

However, Judge Beattie rejected that notion, saying election law clearly states that signatures require a "date indicating when it was signed," and that a date cannot be "inferred or extrapolated from the context."

Beattie wrote: "The Court takes no joy in this conclusion. 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. Here the Court has attempted to fulfill that role."

The Iowa secretary of state's office insists a final determination on this matter — if Finkenauer, a former state representative, formally appeals — must be made by April 15, as a means of finalizing ballots for early June.

According to the Register, military and overseas voters are required by law to receive ballots at least 45 days before the June 7 primary, with April 23 serving as the deadline.

A successful appeal would have to make its way to the Iowa Supreme Court in relatively short order. Six of the seven justices on Iowa's highest court were appointed by Republican governors.

Original Article