DES MOINES — Ron Corbett is a candidate for governor no longer.
He missed it by eight signatures.
A challenge to the signatures Corbett collected to get his name on the ballot as a Republican candidate for governor yielded dozens of discrepancies, and Corbett’s petition to remain on the ballot was rejected Tuesday by a three-member state panel.
At the final tally, Corbett had 3,997 verified signatures; he needed 4,005 to get his name on the ballot.
Corbett’s original submission contained 4,091 signatures. A challenge, brought by conservative blogger Craig Robinson, raised questions about 108 of those signatures.
The state panel, comprised of Secretary of State Paul Pate, Attorney General Tom Miller and Auditor Mary Mosiman, ruled on the various contested signatures. The panel approved some signatures that included post office boxes instead of street addresses, incomplete street addresses or no county of residence identified. But the panel also rejected some signatures that misidentified the county or city of residence.
The panel also rejected the Corbett’s campaign to count signatures that contained accurate residence information but that the campaign mistakenly crossed off, apparently believing some of the residence information to be inaccurate.
“We made a mistake in correcting something that never needed correcting,” said Patrick Sealey, a Sioux City-based attorney representing Corbett’s campaign. “The only thing that’s not accurate is our mistake in crossing off something that was accurate.”
There were eight such signatures — exactly the number of signatures of which Corbett ultimately fell shy.
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Pate and Mosiman voted to reject the Corbett campaign’s petition; Miller voted to accept it, citing the high profile of the governor’s race and his apprehension at delivering a ruling that would take what he called a legitimate candidate off the ballot.
Corbett said he does not plan to make a legal challenge to the panel’s ruling.
With Corbett off the ballot, Gov. Kim Reynolds is the lone Republican in the race ahead of the June primary.
Corbett accused “the governor’s people” for trying to get him off the ballot. Robinson is not a member of the governor’s official office or campaign staff, nor has he donated to Reynolds’ campaign, according to state campaign finance records online. Robinson, however, recently told the Des Moines Register he “probably” would vote for Reynolds in the primary.
“To do this shenanigans and try to get us kicked off really, I think, is in poor taste,” Corbett said. “But it is what it is, and she won’t have a primary challenge.”
Reynolds issued a statement through her campaign Tuesday evening.
"I want to thank Ron Corbett for his commitment and service to the people of Iowa,” Reynolds said in the statement. “Now is the time for the Republican Party to unite, and I look forward to leading our team to victory up and down the ballot this November.”
- The panel also rejected the petition of Ginny Caligiuri, who was a Republican candidate for Congress in eastern Iowa’s 2nd District. Caligiuri’s signatures were contested by the campaign of fellow 2nd District Republican candidate Chris Peters. Duplicates dropped the number of signatures below a required threshold in one county in the district, and the Caligiuri campaign’s pleas to allow signatures from a different county were rejected by the panel because they were not marked with the candidate’s political affiliation. With Caligiuri off the ballot, Peters is the lone Republican in the 2nd District race going into the June primary election.
- Statehouse candidate Dale Bolsinger also had his petition rejected after he collected signatures to run as a Republican in Iowa House District 56, but at the time was a registered Democrat. He changed his voter registration to Republican the day after collecting the signatures.
- The panel rejected a challenge to the nominating signatures for Theresa Greenfield, a Democratic candidate for Congress in central Iowa’s 3rd District. The panel determined the challenge was not applicable. Greenfield withdrew her original ballot petition after discovering some of the signatures were forged by her then-campaign manager, who she has since fired. Greenfield hurriedly submitted a second ballot petition, but that did not have sufficient signatures. Members of the 3rd District Democrats’ central committee on Monday voted to nominate Greenfield to the ballot. Pate has said he has not yet determined whether to approve the nomination to put Greenfield on the ballot. Even if he does, that could be challenged in court.\
- The panel rejected challenges to the nominating signatures of Reynolds and U.S. Reps. Steve King and David Young. The challenges were based on clerical errors the panel described as non-essential. Panel members said those candidates’ forms met the threshold of “substantial compliance” for those non-essential items, a criteria that the panel has applied in the past.