West Branch man frustrated with Republican efforts to invalidate his signature

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 8:36 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A West Branch man said he’s frustrated with political partisanship after a district court judge rules his signature invalid on former congresswoman Abby Finkenauer’s (D) nomination petition for U.S. Senate.

Louis Picek, who is a veteran and owns an antique shop in West Branch, is one of three signatures a Republican lawsuit argued shouldn’t count because those signatures are missing or using an incorrect date. District Court Judge Scott Beattie agreed and invalidated those three signatures, which was enough to disqualify Finkenauer from the primary ballot.

Finkenauer’s campaign has appealed the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments on the case on Wednesday.

Picek, who said he wasn’t helped while signing Finkenauer’s petition along with seven others, admitted to writing down the wrong date. He said the Republican effort to disqualify his signature is suppressing his voice and proof politics is becoming more partisan.

“I just think it’s gotten to the part where parties will do anything to get what they want and that’s what I oppose,” Picek said.

Alan Ostergren, who is the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said he simply wants to enforce election law as it is written equally and his challenge isn’t voter suppression because Picek can still vote in the general and primary elections. He also said it is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure it has enough correct signatures and could have more than the required amount of signatures.

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller (D) said on Monday that Finkenauer’s campaign could have avoided this situation if it received more signatures.

Senate Candidates are required to get at least 100 signatures in 19 counties. Finkenauer’s campaign had 100 signatures in Allamakee County and 101 signatures in Cedar County.

The Finkenauer campaign rescheduled an interview with us today after a conflict came up. If the Iowa Supreme Court doesn’t add Finkenauer back onto the primary ballot, the only Democrats on the primary ballot will be Admiral Mike Franken and Glenn Hurst. The winner will likely face Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley.

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