Iowa Supreme Court overturns Finkenauer ballot disqualification

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 12:22 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (WOWT) - Democratic Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer can appear on Iowa’s primary ballot, according to the Iowa Supreme Court.

The state’s high court issued its 7-0 ruling on the matter Friday, soundly rejecting a lower court decision that disqualified three petition signatures. Friday after hearing an appeal from the former Congresswoman’s campaign on Wednesday The judges heard arguments for about an hour and 20 minutes, adjourning with no decision.

Finkenauer’s campaign said in a statement Friday that the ruling “reverses a misguided decision.”

“I ran for the U.S. Senate because I was worried about the direction of our country, about the division and polarization that has put people so far into their corners that they will do anything to try to get elected, including undermining the democratic process itself,” she said in the statement. “The Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today has affirmed that we are right on the law... 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.”

The Iowa primary is June 7. Glenn Hurst and Mike Franken are also listed among the Democratic candidates. The winner in the Democratic primary election will face Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who is seeking an eighth term in the Senate, in November.

Iowa’s Republican Party issued a statement on the matter saying Finkenauer’s ballot petition indicated she wouldn’t fare well if she ends up facing incumbent Grassley.

“No matter which way the court ruled, Finkenauer will never be a U.S. Senator from Iowa. Iowans saw everything they needed to see in Finkenauer’s effort to get on the ballot,” the state GOP said in a statement. “For someone who claims to have a strong campaign, she could barely reach the minimum requirement for petition signatures.”

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Read Finkenauer’s full statement

“I ran for the U.S. Senate because I was worried about the direction of our country, about the division and polarization that has put people so far into their corners that they will do anything to try to get elected, including undermining the democratic process itself.

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.

I’m grateful to the more than 5,000 Iowans who signed petitions to put us on the ballot, and the thousands more who stepped up to support our campaign and call out this meritless partisan attack over the last few weeks.

Today’s victory isn’t about my candidacy – it’s about justice for Iowans and democracy prevailing over meritless partisan attacks orchestrated by Washington Republicans and allies of Senator Grassley seeking to silence Iowans and undermine the democratic process.

Iowans have had enough of being overruled, silenced, and left behind by elites and special interests in Washington.

Our campaign is all about giving hardworking Iowans a voice again in the U.S. Senate. After 47 years in Washington, Senator Grassley has changed and forgotten where he comes from. While his allies get richer and richer, Iowa has lost over 30,000 family farms, and it’s gotten harder and harder for working families like the one I grew up in to get by.

Washington Republicans support these attacks on me because they’re scared. They know that Senator Grassley is more vulnerable than ever, and they tried to undermine the democratic process to save him from having to face me in November. They lost, and we’re going to continue to do the hard work of talking to Iowans all across the state in order to build the coalition to ensure that Grassley and the Washington elite lose again in November.”

Abby Finkenauer

Read the Iowa Supreme Court opinion

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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