On Friday, a formal objection was filed to remove four of the five Republicans running in the 4th district congressional race. Today the State Objection Panel convened via conference call and voted to down the objections.
The objection takes on all the four candidates and breaks down her grievances into what she calls systemic and county-specific issues. While she details several complaints about the candidate’s forms, her two largest and potentially most significant issues were:
- Circulators not witnessing each signature
- Voters that signed not providing their registered addresses.
While each candidate was able to defend their campaign against the objection, the Feenstra campaign came well prepared and provided the board with a point by point rebuttal. The rebuttal states, “Other than the duplicate signatures, which we concede do not count, none of Hanson’s objections are legally sound.”
In the end, the board agreed with the campaigns. It rejected every aspect of the complaint except for the handful of duplicate signatures and the deceased person who signed but passed away since then.
The rejection of the Hanson objections resulted mostly from two facts. One, Iowa law does not require that the person responsible for circulating the petition page witness each signature. Two, a signature cannot be rejected because the person who signed is not registered to vote at the address listed. They only need the qualifications necessary to vote. With these two items agreed to by board members, the bulk of the objection complaint eviscerated, the meeting wrapped up shortly after.
The objection was brought by Cyndi Hanson, of Sioux City. Hanson ran and lost in the primary against Steve King in 2018.
When reached by phone after the meeting, she said she was disappointed.
The state objection panel also considered objections against other candidates. Here is a break for each candidate and a summary of the issue and the result.
First up was Charlotte Dunnett running for State House District 23. The objection was that she placed the wrong date on her nomination petition forms, using Nov 3rd, the date of the general election, rather than June 7th, the date of the primary election. It seems she was instructed to do so by mistake by the IA SOS office as they failed to ask her party, assuming she was running as an independent. The board voted to keep her on the ballot.
The second was Jordan Omstead seeking State House District 27. The issue was that Jordan was not registered as a republican before seeking to run as a Republican for the seat. After this was brought to his attention, he updated his voter registration via the Iowa DOT site. However, that registration update did not change until after the filing/objection window. With some guidance on past decisions regarding the topic, the board voted to uphold the objection. Jordan was dropped from the ballot
Next up, Craig Clark of Rockford, Iowa, is running for State House District 52. Craig’s problem was that he barely turned in enough signatures and then regaled the board with a lot of other impertinent details. Additionally, the board took into consideration a common thread on the first three objections, the fact that the complaint was filed by Jake Highfill. Jake manages the Iowa house majority operation and ran point on the objections. The board took issue with the fact that he did not live in the districts where he was filling challenges. Jake noted that he was merely helping local party members file and that the coronavirus situation made matters worse. The board rejected the objection and allowed Mr. Clark to remain on the ballot.
Rita Hart running for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd District had the objection filed against her withdrawn before the meeting. It focused on an inconsistency in the way county names were written. The handwriting of the county did not match the handwriting of the circulator.
Steven Everly – United States Congressional District 2
Lastly, before the Hason objections was Steven Everly also running for congress in Iowa CD2. Everly failed to fill the indicate the office he sought to run for on the nomination petitions. The challenge failed.
The State Objection Panel has three members; Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, and Auditor Rob Sand.