Updated Apr 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge rules Iowa Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer cannot appear on Dem primary ballot

Picture of Abby Finkenauer

Abby Finkenauer. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

A judge ruled Sunday night that former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) cannot appear on Iowa's June 7 Democratic primary ballot.

Driving the news: Finkenauer has been competing for the Democratic Party's nomination to run against Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for his U.S. Senate seat.

  • Finkenauer served one term in the House after beating incumbent Rep. Rod Blum (R) in 2018, but she lost her re-election bid in 2020.

Catch up fast: Her place on the ballot was challenged by Republicans who argued that Finkenauer did not submit the necessary amount of valid signatures on her nominating petitions to qualify for the primary ballot, the Des Moines Register reports.

  • A state panel found that she met the requirement, but Republicans said that the panel failed to consider three signatures that did not include a date. Polk County District Judge Scott Beattie sided with them, arguing that the panel "did not correctly" interpret the law.

Context: Senate candidates are required to submit at least 3,500 signatures on their nomination petitions, including 100 in 19 different Iowa counties.

  • Beattie ruled that Finkenauer did not have enough valid signatures because some of them were "missing information."

Details: "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," Beattie wrote in his opinion.

  • "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."

What she's saying: "This misguided, midnight ruling is an outrageous and partisan gift to the Washington Republicans who orchestrated this meritless legal action," Finkenauer said in a statement.

  • "Chuck Grassley’s allies in Washington are going to continue launching attack after attack on me — no matter how weak and partisan — because they know we have the momentum to win this race," she added.

What's next: Finkenauer said later on Monday that her campaign will "challenge this deeply partisan decision to the Iowa Supreme Court."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Finkenauer.

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