116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
JOHNSTON — Although he disagrees, Secretary of State Paul Pate respects the Iowa Supreme Court decision clearing the way for Abby Finkenauer to be on the June 7 Democratic primary election ballot.
“I did have a different opinion on it,” Pate said Friday during taping of “Iowa Press,” which can be seen at 7:30 p.m. Friday on Iowa PBS.
“I felt that 200 candidates plus got it right and were able to get the dates and signatures done correctly. From where I sat, the (Iowa) Code did say not ‘maybe,’ but ‘shall.’”
Finkenauer, who lives in Cedar Rapids, is a former state representative and U.S. representative in Congress. She is seeking her party’s nomination to run for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Pate was the lone member of the State Objections Panel that heard a challenge to three signatures on Finkenauer’s petitions that either did not include a date or had the wrong date.
A district court judge agreed with Pate, but the Iowa Supreme Court overturned that decision, so Finkenauer’s name will appear with Democrats Mike Franken and Glenn Hurst.
“Iowa Press” can be seen:
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, on Iowa PBS
Noon Sunday, April 24, on Iowa PBS
8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 23, on Iowa PBS World
Pate went on to say he believes the dates are “significant” and that “if the other 200-plus candidates did it right, someone running for a significant office like United States senator should be able to do the same.”
The bigger question for Pate, who has been elected a state senator and mayor of Cedar Rapids, is why Finkenauer or any candidate wouldn’t have a “buffer,” more than enough signatures to avoid a challenge of the sort that nearly cost her a place on the ballot.
Candidates running statewide must get 3,500 signatures with at least 100 people in each of 19 counties.
Pate, who is seeking a fourth term as secretary of state, also defended the ballot challenge process that allows Iowa voters to raise objections to nomination petitions. There was discussion whether it was appropriate for Republicans to challenge Finkenauer’s petitions.
“For me, it made sense that if you’re a registered Iowa voter, you should be able to challenge,” he said. “It may be the primary, but they will be the candidate this fall and you can’t challenge then. So if there’s a question about their legitimacy, the appropriate time is at this juncture.”
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