***See updates below***
Iowa law requires candidates to collect signatures to appear on the ballot for their party’s primary. The filing deadline for signatures was last Friday, March 16, 2018, at 5:00p. The number of signatures differs by party as it is based on how many votes the party’s presidential candidate received in the last presidential election. Democrat candidates in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District were required to collect 1, 790 signatures of Iowa residents from eight different counties in the district.
It is not particularly an onerous task if the campaign is organized. Campaign staff and volunteers carry the nomination petitions to every county party function they attend, every special event, every campaign event, and then while canvassing. Typically, people will sign multiple candidate nomination petitions regardless of whether or not they support the candidate.
Theresa Greenfield was the top Democrat running to challenge incumbent Congressman David Young (R-Iowa). She received a number of labor endorsements. Iowa Starting Line, a leading liberal blog in Iowa, reported that she was rumored to be the preferred candidate of the Democrat Congressional Candidate Committee (DCCC). She was also one of the top two fundraisers among the Democrat candidates according to Open Secrets running neck and neck with Eddie Mauro.
On Wednesday, she thought she had making the primary ballot in the bag. She tweeted:
Thrilled to have submitted our petition signatures required to make the ballot for our race today!
— Theresa Greenfield (@GreenfieldIowa) March 14, 2018
Greenfield confirmed to reporters that her campaign manager informed her that he forged some of the signatures which led her to resubmit her nomination petition. She did not know how many. “Doesn’t matter. If it’s one, that’s one too many. And I just couldn’t allow that to go forward. I took corrective action. Dismissed my manager,” Greenfield said Friday evening after a day-long scramble to gather enough signatures.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office confirmed Monday afternoon that Greenfield failed to provide the number of signatures needed to make the ballot.
Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie J. Mauro are the Democrat candidates who will appear on the Democrat primary ballot on June 5th. The objection and withdrawal deadline with the Iowa Secretary of State is March 23, 2018, at 5:00p.
Update 3/21/18: Greenfield may still end up on the ballot.
Great news everyone! The Iowa Secretary of State has affirmed that they will certify my nomination to appear on the Democratic Party ballot for the 3rd CD through nomination by a special meeting of the 3rd District Democrats on Monday. #TeamDemocracy
— Theresa Greenfield (@GreenfieldIowa) March 20, 2018
2nd update: Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate issued a statement in response:
My staff and I have been notified by the Attorney General’s office that they will not be issuing a formal opinion regarding the application of Iowa Code section 43.23. This office will continue to analyze and research this matter in a careful and thorough manner, but at this time, I will also be reserving judgment on the applicability of Iowa Code section 43.23.
If the Third District Democratic Party makes the decision to hold a convention and nominates an additional candidate for the June 5 primary election, we would receive the convention certificate and affidavit of candidacy from the chosen candidate. The role of the Secretary of State’s office in this process is to take receipt of a convention certificate, which does not mean that the selected candidate’s placement on the ballot is guaranteed or above legal challenge.
In short, her place on the ballot is still in doubt.