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Judge Upholds Decision to Keep Corbett Off Republican Primary Ballot

Dean Borg
Ron Corbett announces his run for governor in Cedar Rapids June 20, 2017.

A Polk County judge ruled late Wednesday that Ron Corbett cannot run in the Republican primary for governor, leaving Gov. Kim Reynolds without a primary challenge.

Judge David May upheld the state elections panel’s decision to keep Corbett off the ballot because his petition was eight signatures short of the number required by law.

Corbett argued in court this week that some crossed-off signatures should have been counted.

May disagrees, writing, “By striking through—or crossing off—the signatures at issue, Mr. Corbett’s campaign deleted those signatures from his nomination papers.” He adds their motivation for doing so is not relevant.

Corbett says he is disappointed in the judge’s ruling, but he will accept it. 

“It’s something that will haunt me for the balance of my life, why we came up eight short. But that’s it, we came up eight short,” Corbett says. “I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus or kick people to the curb. It is what it is.”

Corbett says he will not appeal the ruling, and he will support Reynolds in the governor’s race. 

“I wanted to run on the Republican ticket,” Corbett says. “So although I’m not a happy Republican today, I’m still a Republican and will not be running as an independent.”

Earlier this week, Corbett accused “dark money organizations” and the Reynolds campaign of working to challenge his petition.

“We’re putting our full support behind Governor Kim Reynolds’ campaign to continue moving Iowa forward,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann in an emailed statement. “We hope that Ron Corbett will remain an active voice for the party and look forward to working with him in the future.”

The primary elections for Iowa governor are scheduled for June 5.

Corbett, a former Cedar Rapids mayor and former Speaker of the Iowa House, says he hopes to continue work with his think tank. He says if that doesn’t work out, he will look for work in the private sector.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter