IA-03: Every Democrat has the resources to compete (updated)

The Democratic campaign in Iowa’s third Congressional district is unlike any three-way race I can recall here. All of the candidates have raised enough money to get their message to voters district-wide before the June 5 primary. Disappointed activists won’t be able to claim later that their favorite could have won the nomination if only s/he hadn’t been drowned out by a better-funded front-runner.

Meanwhile, two-term Republican Representative David Young continues to amass a huge war chest, mostly thanks to a small army of corporate political action committees.

Highlights from the latest round of Federal Election Commission reports are after the jump.

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IA-03: Theresa Greenfield off Democratic primary ballot

Secretary of State Paul Pate did not certify Theresa Greenfield’s candidacy in Iowa’s third Congressional district today, following advice from Attorney General Tom Miller. The Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Central Committee voted on March 26 to designate Greenfield as an “additional primary election candidate.” Miller declined last week to issue a legal opinion on whether the relevant portion of Iowa code applies to Greenfield’s circumstances. But in an analysis released today, the attorney general said the statute is intended “to encourage and ensure contested primaries” and “is not a do-over provision” for candidates who failed to qualify for the ballot through ordinary means.

I’ve posted the full statement and legal analysis from the Attorney General’s office after the jump, along with a statement from Greenfield accepting Miller’s conclusion. She could have filed a lawsuit challenging Pate’s refusal to certify her, but she probably would not have succeeded for reasons Bleeding Heartland discussed here and here.

The big question mark now is where Greenfield’s prominent supporters, including major labor unions, will land. Three Democrats are competing for the chance to take on two-term Representative David Young: Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro. Although they agree on many issues, they have been making very different cases to voters. Each has well-known advocates in Iowa Democratic circles.

Axne angered some Greenfield backers by lobbying the central committee not to invoke Iowa Code 43.23, whereas Mauro promised last week not to challenge efforts to add Greenfield to the ballot. D’Alessandro helped Greenfield during her mad dash to collect new signatures on March 16.

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Iowa candidates on notice: Signature requirements are real

A state panel disqualified two prominent Republican candidates yesterday due to insufficient valid signatures on their nominating petitions. A leading Democratic contender for Congress would have suffered the same fate, had a party committee not bailed her out using a questionable legal loophole.

All of the candidates had been actively campaigning for months. Yet they failed to ensure that they could meet a straightforward, longstanding requirement to qualify for the ballot. Nothing like this should happen to another serious contender for public office in Iowa.

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Vote on Greenfield candidacy sets bad precedent for Iowa Democrats

Members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Central Committee voted yesterday to use an obscure provision of state law to nominate Theresa Greenfield for the primary ballot. After about 30 minutes of debate, the committee narrowly supported a motion to add another candidate to the Congressional primary ballot (36 to 31, with two abstaining). A second motion, for Greenfield to be that additional candidate, passed 47 to 10, with six abstentions.

Before Greenfield’s name is added to the candidate list, an election panel consisting of Attorney General Tom Miller, Secretary of State Paul Pate, and State Auditor Mary Mosiman will likely consider an objection. Depending on the outcome, the panel’s decision may be challenged in court.

Central committee members were in an unenviable position; no matter how they voted, some activists would be upset. Unfortunately, the chosen path suggests that Iowa Democrats will abandon normal procedures if necessary to help a sympathetic candidate.

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Libertarian candidate challenges Kim Reynolds, David Young nominations

The Libertarian candidate in Iowa’s third Congressional district has challenged the nomination petitions submitted by Governor Kim Reynolds and Representative David Young for the June 5 Republican primary. Bryan Jack Holder charges that Reynolds and Young collected many signatures on petitions that were not “substantially” in “the form prescribed by the state commissioner of elections.” He further claims the governor and U.S. House incumbent violated voters’ privacy rights by collecting personal information that was not redacted from petitions turned in to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

Although Holder is extremely unlikely to knock either Republican off the primary ballot, his objections may produce more clarity on how much Iowa candidates for state or federal offices can modify their nominating petitions.

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