By Jim EllisApril 13, 2022 — An Iowa district judge rejected former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s (D) signature petitions late Sunday night, thus disqualifying her from the Democratic primary ballot. It appeared that she was the party’s early front runner to challenge Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) in the general election.
Under Iowa law, a statewide candidate must submit 3,500 valid registered voter signatures to obtain ballot position. A side requirement is that at least 100 signatures must come from a minimum of 19 individual counties, and it is here where Finkenauer came up short. While filing more than 5,000 signatures statewide, the qualification came down to two of her 19 counties where all but the bare minimum number were rejected outright.
The State Objection Panel, comprised of two Democratic statewide officials and one Republican, had approved the petitions, but Polk County District Judge Scott Beattie said the body was wrong for ignoring the full legal requirements. Three signatures from the two counties in question lacked the date of signature, which is a clear requirement under the Iowa procedure. Republicans then filed their legal challenge arguing that the Objection Panel did not fully adhere to the law.
Judge Beattie agreed, and wrote that though the “court takes no joy in this conclusion,” he had no choice but to enforce the letter of the law.
Finkenauer immediately claimed the judicial ruling was partisan in nature because Judge Beattie is a Republican. She said his decision is a “massive gift to Washington Republicans,” according to the Des Moines Register newspaper.
She then launched an appeal to the state Supreme Court. The Secretary of State, however, has said he has to see a ruling overturning the decision, if such is to be rendered, before April 15 in order to satisfy the national MOVE Act requirements, which mandates notice of an election at least 45 days prior for overseas and military voters. The Iowa primary is June 7. Therefore, if the Court proceeds with their review, it will have to act within the next couple of days.
It is not yet known what amount Finkenauer raised during the year’s 1st quarter, but she had already obtained more than $1.9 million in contributions prior to 2021 ending. Of that, she reported more than $723,000 in the bank at the Dec. 31 reporting deadline.