A Republican candidate’s appeal to get on the primary ballot for governor came before a Polk County judge for a hearing Tuesday.
The state elections panel last week threw out Ron Corbett’s bid for governor in a 2-1 decision because it found his petition was eight signatures short of the 4,005 needed to qualify. That leaves incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds with no opponent in the June 5 primary election.
Corbett appealed the decision, and his attorneys told a judge Tuesday that some crossed-out signatures should have been counted by the elections panel.
“The voters should be allowed to choose what candidate they wish to proceed further,” attorney Pat Sealey said. “It should not be left to two people to keep out of the hands of the citizens of Iowa that right to choose.”
Sealey emphasized that two Republicans—Secretary of State Paul Pate and State Auditor Mary Mosiman—voted to reject Corbett’s petition, while Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller voted to keep him on the ballot.
Attorney Mark Weinhardt, speaking for the elections panel, said those crossed-out names should not be counted. He said Corbett did not meet the requirements to get on the ballot.
“He is asking this court to accomplish for him what he could not accomplish in the field with his campaign organization: marshaling the number of signatures he needed under a very clear and very obvious set of rules,” Weinhardt said.
Weinhardt added that getting “close enough” to the number is not sufficient.
"This is the candidate who wants to be the most important elected official in Iowa...and yet here he is asking this court to lower the bar for organizational effectiveness so he can be on the ballot," Weinhardt said.
After the hearing, Corbett questioned the motivation of those who challenged his petition to get on the ballot.
“These are all dark money organizations that are leading this effort to get me thrown off the ballot,” Corbett said. “What is their motivation? What is their intent? I don’t think they’re acting alone. I think the governor and the governor’s campaign is involved with this.”
Judge David May said he would issue a ruling as soon as possible. Corbett said he hopes to hear back by the end of the week.