TIR EXCLUSIVE: Ron Corbett Nomination Petitions Challenged

In one of the most cut and dry cases in ballot qualification, Ron Corbett fails to gather enough signatures to join the 2018 Gubernatorial Republican Primary Ballot.

It all started Friday afternoon when Ron Corbett’s campaign brought their petitions to the Iowa Secretary of State just thirty minutes before the 5:00 p.m. deadline. Rumors had been circulating for months that the Corbett campaign was having issues gathering the necessary signatures to be placed on the primary ballot because of the vast support Governor Reynolds has among Republicans.

On Tuesday morning, The Iowa Republican obtained copies of the Corbett campaign’s petitions filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Our initial examination of the Corbett campaign’s petitions noticed that they submitted just 83 signatures above qualifying threshold for the primary ballot. Most campaigns attempt to get double or triple the amount of signatures needed just to play it safe. With Corbett barely surpassing the minimum signatures required we felt a closer examination of his petitions was warranted.

Corbett’s petitions were easy to verify because the campaign had signers print their first and last name alongside their signature. It was rather easy to glance through each sheet to find a number of duplicate names, nearly all of which had the same address but were signed on a different date.

In total we found 104 duplicate signatures and 7 signatures improperly filled out. That leaves Corbett with 3,977 signatures and 28 short of the minimum 4,005 needed to access the primary ballot.

Failure to execute even the simplest, most straightforward requirement of a candidacy is all the evidence required to conclude that the Corbett campaign doesn’t have what it takes to win an election in November. Any serious, professional campaign knows that it must gather at least double the required number of signatures to account for duplicates and errors.

Furthermore, it’s odd that a candidate who has spent hundreds-of-thousands of dollars on ads attacking Governor Reynolds would spend all that money on ads while ignoring one of the most basic tasks of running for office. It looks like pure incompetence. Corbett does have campaign staff. In his January filing with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board Corbett paid Cory Crowley $10,000 per month salary to manage his campaign. He also employed his sister Stephanie, who was paid a salary of $2,500 per month. Stephanie was seen at Republican events collecting signatures for Corbett as recently as last week.

The fact that the Corbett campaign only exceeded the required number of signatures by about 83 in its initial but erroneous filing is a serious mistake and draws attention to a clear lack of organization and commitment to this race. Unlike Corbett, Reynolds, Hubbell, Boulton, Glasson, and Norris turned in their petitions in person. While not required, it is a milestone for a campaign to reach. Either Corbett knew how incredibly pathetic his ballot access operation was and didn’t want to be anywhere around the petitions that were collected, or he simply didn’t care enough be involved and just overlooked this important process.

One also has to wonder if Corbett’s candidacy wasn’t just a scam to keep him paid a six-figure salary through a questionable non-profit organization that acted like a campaign but skirted the rules that disallow candidates from being paid by campaign contributions. Either way, it seems that this entire process was a waste of a few million dollars.

This afternoon I have filed a challenge of Corbett’s campaign petitions with the Secretary of State’s Office. I’ve also provided the Secretary of State’s office with documentation of the duplicate signees as well as the few names that were improperly filled out.   I am confident that after reviewing the material that Secretary of State Paul Pate will conclude as I did: Ron Corbett failed to meet minimum criteria to be on the Republican primary ballot this coming June.

You will find below the official challenge letter and a couple examples of what TIR uncovered.