Signature challenge may derail Ron Corbett’s campaign for governor

Ron Corbett speaking at the Douglas Mansion. Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann

On Tuesday, Iowa Republican activist Craig Robinson sent a letter to Secretary of State Paul Pate challenging the validity 111 signatures on the candidate petition of Republican candidate for governor Ron Corbett. If Pate disqualifies those signatures, Corbett’s name will not appear on the June primary ballot.

If Corbett, the former mayor of Cedar Rapids, is not on the primary ballot, Gov. Kim Reynolds will automatically become the Republican nominee.

Corbett filed his petition on Friday, the final day for candidates to do so. Corbett’s petition had 4,088 signatures, 83 more than 4,005 required for a gubernatorial candidate. On his website The Iowa Republican, Robinson said he obtained a copy of the petition on Tuesday and began reviewing the signatures.

Corbett’s petitions were easy to verify because the campaign had signers print their first and last name alongside their signature. It was rather easy to glance through each sheet to find a number of duplicate names, nearly all of which had the same address but were signed on a different date.

In total we found 104 duplicate signatures and 7 signatures improperly filled out. That leaves Corbett with 3,977 signatures and 28 short of the minimum 4,005 needed to access the primary ballot.

In a statement provided to Little Village, Cory Crowley, Corbett’s campaign manager, claimed the challenge was the work of “establishment insiders” trying to quash a challenge to Reynolds.

The Corbett campaign is supported by thousands of Iowans who believe they should have a choice at the ballot box. Our campaign collected more than the required number of signatures in the required number of counties and we are confident an official review next week will find in our favor. Establishment insiders with deep ties to Governor Reynolds have tried everything they can think of to derail Ron’s campaign and protect the status quo. This is their latest attempt to prevent a fair and open primary.

Kevin Hall, communications director for the Secretary of State’s office, told the Des Moines Register, “A review board will convene soon, likely next week, made up of the Secretary of State, the State Auditor and the Attorney General.” Both Robinson and Corbett will be able to make presentations to the review board.

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