Iowa Supreme Court rules Finkenauer can appear on primary ballot

Greg Nash

Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D), who is running for Senate in Iowa, will appear on the Democratic primary ballot in June after the state’s Supreme Court shot down a lower court’s ruling saying she hadn’t qualified to run in the primary.

The ruling marks a victory for Finkenauer, the front-runner in the Democratic nominating contest, who swiftly appealed the lower court’s ruling earlier this week.

The issue first arose when two registered Republicans at the time filed objections in March, taking issue with three of the signatures that Finkenauer’s campaign had submitted. The objection said that one signature included an incorrect date, another had no date and the third signer wrote down their ZIP code instead of the date.

The lower court had ruled this week that Finkenauer did not submit enough signatures to appear on the ballot as is required by state law, which requires that candidates must send in at least 3,500 signatures from “electors,” including at least 100 signatures from 19 different counties.

Finkenauer had submitted roughly 5,000 signatures, but the removal of the three the Republicans objected to made her fall short of the 19-county requirement.

The Supreme Court decided Friday that the signatures should not have been rejected and that the state law had been misinterpreted by the lower court.

“The Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today has affirmed that we are right on the law, and that we will be on the ballot for U.S. Senate. This is a moment for all advocates for democracy — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — to celebrate the enduring strength of our democratic process and a reminder to never take it for granted,” Finkenauer said in a statement after the ruling.

The Supreme Court ruling marks a significant legal victory for Finkenauer, who still remains on her back foot politically. While she is anticipated to coast in the June primary, she faces stiff headwinds in her general election challenge to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R). The political environment in November is anticipated to heavily favor Republicans, and polls show Grassley has a double-digit edge over Finkenauer in a state that already has an increasingly red hue.

Tags Abby Finkenauer Chuck Grassley

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