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Abby Finkenauer may be on Iowa Senate primary ballot, court rules

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The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday that former congresswoman Abby Finkenauer could stand in the Democratic primary ballot in the state Senate race, reversing a judge’s ruling that she had not stood qualified due to issues with her nomination petition.

Finkenauer, who served one term in Congress from 2019 to 2021, is one of the top Democratic recruits in the race against longtime Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). The primary is June 7.

“The GOP’s attempts to undermine ballot access and our electoral process were pathetic and desperate,” Finkenauer said. said in a press release posted to his Twitter feed on Friday afternoon. “Today they lost. With a unanimous decision from the Iowa Supreme Court, we’re still in that fight and will beat Chuck Grassley in November. It’s a good day for our democracy.

Two other candidates — retired Navy Vice Admiral Mike Franken and Dr. Glenn Hurst — are also running in the Democratic primary. Grassley faces a long-running challenge from State Sen. Jim Carlin in the GOP primary.

U.S. Senate candidates in Iowa are required to file at least 3,500 valid signatures on their nomination petitions, including at least 100 each from 19 counties. Republicans sought to eliminate Finkenauer from the ballot by challenging three signatures — one without a date, one with an incorrect date and one where the signer wrote a ZIP code instead of a date.

Finkenauer first convinced a three-member election panel to keep her on the ballot. The two Democrats on the panel had sided with her, saying there was precedent for accepting signatures with incorrect dates, as long as the signatures were legitimate. The third member, Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, disagreed.

The Republicans went to court and late Sunday night a judge ruled that the three signatures could not, in fact, be submitted and that Finkenauer was not qualified for the June primary ballot.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision reversed this decision. According to the Associated Press, the court said the Iowa state legislature “did not include missing or incorrect dates as one of the grounds for sustaining an objection to a petition” when it ruled. revised the law governing nomination petitions last year.

“We conclude that recent legislation prevails,” the court said, according to the AP.

If Finkenauer wins the Democratic nomination, she still faces an uphill battle going up against Grassley. A Des Moines Register poll in September showed Grassley leading Finkenauer 55% to 37% in a potential game, well outside the survey’s margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.


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