Last week, Attorney General Marty Jackley said that folks interested in protecting the integrity of the ballot needed to talk to the judge, not to him. I thought about that. So, surprisingly, did Representative and Reverend Steve Hickey (R-9/Sioux Falls).
I'll admit, Hickey and I communicated. I helped crowdsource some support for a legal challenge to answer the questions AG Jackley and SOS Gant would not.
But Rep. Rev. Hickey decided to act. Last Thursday, April 10, Rep. Hickey filed an affidavit with the Hughes County Clerk of Courts asking the Sixth Circuit Court to order Secretary of State Jason Gant to reject Annette Bosworth's nominating petition and not print her name on the GOP Senate primary ballot. Rep. Hickey submitted an additional affidavit with evidence supporting the case that Bosworth and husband Chad Haber had invalidated her petition by violating their circulator's oaths. Hickey submitted 53 pages of exhibits in support of his affidavits.
Judge Mark Barnett e-mailed Rep. Hickey on Friday, April 11, and said he saw no way to schedule a hearing that could compel the Secretary of State to act in time to prevent printing of the ballots. He scheduled a tentative hearing for Friday, April 18. Ballots are due at county courthouses by Wednesday April 16.
Second Circuit Court Judge Susan Sabers was able to respond to a court challenge to an impending vote the same day it was filed, April 6, the day before the Sioux Falls municipal election. Evidently the Second Circuit can move faster than the Sixth Circuit.
Seeing that Judge Barnett deemed immediate remedy unworkable, Rep. Hickey has moved to dismiss his own action. The legal questions Attorney General Jackley and Secretary Gant have ignored on the Bosworth petition challenge thus remain unanswered.
But why did Rep. Hickey file his challenge in the first place? The good reverend offers this explanation:
I'm not connected with any Senate campaign so this is not one campaign trying to take out another campaign and so I'm not sure how this will be viewed today. But maybe someone someday will say, there was a time an overtly Christian US Senate candidate was so unscrupulous, scandalous and unChristlike, Steve was bothered enough to stick his foot out and try to trip that person up on a technicality. (The unscrupulous and scandalous things are the raffles and unpaid employees and vendors which have been documented by the Argus Leader. The unChristlike thing I'm referring to was the official Bosworth campaign video attack on a thorn-in-the-flesh citizen activist for a lone employment termination fully ignoring her own past which is far worse.)
Character is more important than Republican talking points. A few days ago Dr. Boz did a video likening herself to David against Goliath. My thought was if she was indeed David, then she need someone to be a Nathan to her. Nathan was David's friend who would not sit by and let David gloss over his significant transgressions. The ever-growing list of dubious things in the Bosworth candidacy left unchallenged only undermine the integrity of the process and public confidence which effects all of us in public office or seeking it. And, I do think it would be a win for the state GOP for the public to see we are willing to clean our own house once in a while [links mine; Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey, e-mail to Madville Times, 2014.04.14].
Expect Team Bosworth to spend campaign donations to attack Reverend Hickey with a comedy video showing him waving his arms during a sermon. Expect Rep. Rev. Hickey to let that water roll off his back.
In my statutory challenge to Bosworth's petition and in Hickey's now-withdrawn court challenge, citizens tried to work as swiftly as they could within the law and the compressed time frame created by the state to challenge what appears to be a fraudulent nominating petition. The Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and now the court have declined to act with similar swiftness to ensure that the ballot is not sullied by such fraud.
Related, 11:48 CDT: Bosworth alleges on Facebook this morning that "preachers that signed my nominating petition are being harassed by law enforcement." Note to Annette: asking questions is not harassment. But the thinnest-skinned person on the ballot asks with unabashed irony, "How do we stand up to this corruption?"
Update 12:44 CDT: Joel Ebert of the Pierre Capital Journal reports the story (and calls me a "liberal blogger"—yes!). Hickey reiterates to Ebert that he moved to dismiss his writ simply because the court could not take action in time to provide remedy.