Saturday, March 24, 2012

Someseng Wrong?

Breaking late Friday: a challenge filed to Joe Seng's nomination papers.

No official word yet on the reasons for the challenge -- Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Attorney General Tom Miller, and State Auditor David Vaudt are meeting Monday -- but my bet is it has to do with the county requirements.

US House in a party primary has, relative to other offices, the highest bar to clear to qualify for the ballot. The standard is 1% of the party's top of the ticket vote in the preceding general election(president or governor depending on the cycle), plus 2% of that vote in at least half the counties. That meant, for a Democrat in the 2nd CD, 1277 names, plus 2% in at least 12 counties.

It was that county requirement that tripped up the congressman Seng is trying to challenge, Dave Loebsack, in 2006. Problems with Louisa County petitions left him five names short. Since no other Democrat had filed, Loebsack was nominated at a party convention.

There could be other issues, such as signatures from multiple counties on one page or insufficient addresses. But standard procedure is to gather way more names than needed, and Seng's last second effort clearly wasn't organized enough to do that.

I heard reports that Seng was gathering signatures in Cedar County as late as Thursday night March 15, the night before the filing deadline, and that the papers were turned in to Schultz at either 4:58 PM or 4:59. (It's also been reported that a lot of the signatures were gathered at party conventions on Saturday the 10th -- Republican conventions.)

Ballot access expert Richard Winger has argued that county requirements for nomination papers are unconstitutional, but that hasn't been tested in Iowa.

Seng, for his part, isn't trying very hard to make his case: “The number count was pretty close in some places. There could be some mistakes.”

Nor is the anti-choice Dem making a strong case for his candidacy:
“He’s a good man,” Seng said (of Loebsack). “It’s just my right to run as a person. It was nothing against him.”

No comments: