Last updated on 2014.07.31
Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh! When it comes to running for Senate, I guess we District 8 Dems are cursed. In 2010, we didn't get our Senate candidate, Clark Schmidtke, on the Dem ballot because we sent the petitions to Pierre by certified mail instead of registered mail. (Subsequent cursing followed.)
Now I hear Charlie Johnson's petitions to run for District 8 Senate were timely filed but had the wrong information. The top of the petitions read "Lake County" instead of "District 8." SDCL 12-6-7.1 says that legislative nominating petitions "shall clearly designate the senatorial or representative district for which said individual is a candidate." So does the petition itself:
Dang it to heck! Dang it, dang it, dang it!
There. That's out of my system. I'm not even going to ask Secretary Gant to reconsider and grant a liberal (ha ha! get it?) interpretation of voter intent. Law is law, and a screw-up is a screw-up. Given my morning comments about Stephanie Strong's petition failure, I invite all manner of chortling and verbal abuse from my Republican neighbors.
District 8 remains one of 11 Senate seats that, so far, Democrats have left unchallenged. That's nearly a third of the Senate. Grrr.
On the bright side, down in District 14, Democrat Travis Dahle is going to kick someone's butt and win a Senate seat in November. Dahle and Toft in the Legislature—now there's something to keep hope alive!
Update 20:37 MDT: O.K., I'm home and chillin'. On further review, I notice something pointed out by Mr. Johnson: The statute I cite above requires that the petition "clearly designate the senatorial or representative district for which said individual is a candidate." Look at that petition again: it says on the bottom line that Johnson is seeking the office of "State Senate for District 8." That line appears to offer a technical fulfillment of that statute. If indeed all of the signers were Lake County voters, then the petition is factually as well as technically correct.
Five says to file that appeal, Charlie. I might be on board!
Update 20:59 MDT: Sec. Gant tells MDL's Elisa Sand that, even if the petitions contain the signatures of 42 Lake County voters, the petitions are still invalid. It may be easier to go get 102 new signatures on Indy petitions than to hash this out in court.