Two years ago in March, Iowa’s State Objection Panel met to consider eight challenges to the nominating petitions of several state and federal candidates, a process that significantly altered the races for governor and two House seats.
This year, however, the filing process with the Secretary of State’s Office seems to have gone off without a hitch, as candidates boast the vast number of signatures they acquired beyond the minimum requirement.
The filing period began Feb. 24 and concluded 5 p.m. Friday.
On March 27, 2018, the three-person panel upheld a challenge to Republican Ron Corbett alleging his petitions had too many duplicates and invalid signatures, leaving the primary field open for Kim Reynolds to win the Republican nomination for governor. Corbett fell eight signatures short of the 4,005 necessary for the statewide ballot.
In Eastern Iowa’s 2nd District, Republican Ginny Caliguiri was kept off the ballot because of invalid signatures in Washington County, leaving her short of the necessary signatures. Republican Christoper Peters then was the only candidate vying for his party’s nomination to go up against Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack.
At the time of the panel meeting, Theresa Greenfield, then a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, was trying to get on the ballot after pulling her original nominating petitions because her campaign manager admitted to forging some of the signatures. She ended her campaign March 28, 2018, following decisions from the attorney general and secretary of state.
Greenfield, now a candidate for U.S. Senate, submitted more than 20,000 signatures earlier this month, far surpassing the 3,200 needed.
Filing nominating petitions and getting the initial OK from the Secretary of State’s Office largely guarantees a place on the ballot, barring a valid challenge upheld by the State Objection Panel.
Why may this year’s petition collection have been smoother than last cycle? Some point to the heavy snowstorm on the night of the off-year precinct caucus in 2018 that depressed turnout to the local party gatherings. Candidates often distribute their petition forms through the parties’ caucus packets, gathering a large number of their needed requirements from that one evening.
In addition to Greenfield, Eddie Mauro, Kimberly Graham, Michael Franken and Cal Woods also submitted paperwork to be on the June 2 primary ballot for a chance to face Sen. Joni Ernst in November.
Rick Stewart, a 2018 candidate for secretary of agriculture, is the Libertarian candidate and Suzanne Herzog is running as an Independent. They will be on the general election ballot only because Libertarian and “No Party” candidates do not have primaries.
Here is a roundup of candidates who have filed for Iowa’s four congressional races.
Iowa House District 1
Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer likely will face state Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion in the November general election.
Hinson, however, faces a challenger in the Republican primary. Thomas Hansen of Decorah submitted his nominating petitions this week, though his fundraising pales in comparison to Hinson.
Iowa House District 2
With Rep. Dave Loebsack’s retirement at the end of 2020, the Eastern Iowa district is open.
Rita Hart of Wheatland is the only Democrat seeking the nomination. State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa, former congressman Bobby Schilling of Le Claire, Tim Borchardt of Iowa City, Steven Everly of Knoxville and Rick Phillips of Pella will appear on the June 2 Republican primary ballot.
Iowa House District 3
Congresswoman Cindy Axne is almost certain to face former 3rd District congressman David Young for a rematch in November.
Young will face Bill Schafer of Prole in the primary.
Bryan Jack Holder of Council Bluffs is running as a Libertarian.
Iowa House District 4
Democrat J.D. Scholten is campaigning for the second time to represent the Western Iowa district. He is the only Democrat challenging Congressman Steve King, in a race where King is in danger of not winning the Republican nomination.
State Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull, Steven Reeder of Arnolds Park, Bret Richards of Irwin and Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City all are vying for a chance to represent the district. Feenstra is seen as the candidate with the best chance to defeat King in the Republican primary.
By Elizabeth Meyer