Candidates stumble over petition problems

Submitting signatures has never been so exciting.

Not one, but two candidates for office in Iowa ? one for governor and one for Congress are in danger of losing their spot on the ballot thanks to potential issues with their nominating signatures.

March 16 was the filing deadline for petitions at the state Secretary of State office. In order to be on the ballot, prospective candidates are required to collect a certain number of signatures.

Two candidates that have been running serious campaigns could be disqualified.

Ron Corbett, a Republican candidate for governor, has had his nominating signatures challenged by Craig Robinson, a conservative blogger.

Corbett needed to obtain 4,005 signatures in order to be on the ballot for the June 5 primary election against Gov. Kim Reynolds. Corbett filed his signatures roughly a half-hour before the deadline after checking for errors, he told The Gazette in Cedar Rapids.

Robinson, who publishes the conservative website The Iowa Republican, said he found more than 100 duplicates and errors, which would bring Corbett below the 4,005-signature threshold.

A review board comprised of Secretary of State Paul Pate, State Auditor Mary Mosiman and Attorney General Tom Miller will convene to review the challenge, likely this coming week, according to the Secretary of State?s office.

Corbett, a former Cedar Rapids mayor and Iowa House Speaker, said he is confident his candidacy will be upheld, and dismissed Robinson?s challenge as evidence of establishment Republicans attacking his campaign in order to bolster incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds.

?I?m sure we have the adequate number and that the challenge is baseless,? Corbett said.

Theresa Greenfield, a would-be Democratic candidate in Iowa?s 3rd Congressional District, also faces a challenge to maintain her candidacy.

Greenfield filed a set of signatures, but shortly after, said she realized some of the signatures had been forged by her campaign manager, who she then fired.

Greenfield hurriedly withdrew those signatures, collected another batch and refiled just before the deadline. But an analysis by the Secretary of State office showed there were not enough signatures in Greenfield?s new filing and rejected it.

Greenfield is examining other options to get back on the ballot, including the possibility of being named as a candidate by a Democratic Party convention in the district. The 3rd District Democrats plan to meet Monday to discuss the issue.

"They have an opportunity to follow the lead of all those who came out on Friday, stood up for fairness, and chipped in their time and considerable energy to help put me on the ballot,? Greenfield said in a statement.

Even if the party nominates Greenfield to be on the ballot, the Secretary of State must consider the nomination and whether it is permitted by state law.

?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,? Pate said in a statement.

Corbett has been viewed as a longshot to defeat Reynolds, a sitting governor, who replaced Terry Branstad when he became U.S. ambassador to China. But Corbett has been running a serious campaign, raising nearly $845,000 in 2017, fifth-most among the dozen candidates in the race last year.

Greenfield, a Des Moines businesswoman, raised the second-most money in a crowded field of seven Democrats seeking the party?s 3rd District nomination.

Both are now fighting just to keep their names on the ballot.