Four Hoosier voters have filed challenges seeking to have Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum removed from Indiana's May primary election ballot.
Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, filed his candidacy last week even though he fell eight petition signatures short of meeting Indiana's ballot requirement. To be on Indiana's ballot, Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, as well as state candidates running statewide, must collect the signatures of 500 voters in each of the nine congressional districts. While Santorum's campaign said it collected more than the needed number in each district, Marion County voter registration officials say he fell eight short in the 7th District, which is entirely in Marion County.
Today, four voters -- Jerry Bickle of Columbia City, Philip A. Smith of Indianapolis, Reynaldo M. Farias of Noblesville and Christopher C. Watson of West Lafayette -- each filed challenges with the Indiana Election Division saying Santorum did not meet the state's ballot requirements and should not be on the May 8 ballot . . .
Santorum's fate now will be decided by the four-member Indiana Election Commission. Chairman of the commission is Dan Dumezich, a Schererville attorney who is co-chairman of the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney in Indiana. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is Santorum's leading competitor to win the Republican nomination.
Romney is on Indiana's ballot, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
With the GOP race far from over, Indiana's May primary election -- usually a study in foregone conclusions -- may have significance this year in determining the nomination.
Dumezich said there is no reason for him to recuse himself from the case.
"I can be impartial," Dumezich said. "It doesn't present a problem for me. Of course, if someone wants to argue (that he should step aside) I'd listen to it."A few weeks back, I pointed out how the presidential campaigns of Romney, Gingrich and Paul all agreed not to challenge the sufficiency of Rick Santorum's petitions to get on the Illinois ballot where his campaign came up way short of the required number of signatures in a number of congressional districts. That was then when Romney's campaign believed it had the Republican nomination sewn up before it had really gotten started. Now that Republican voters have shown a disinclination to coronate the candidate chosen by the New World Order puppeteers who pull the strings every four years to ensure that only the presidential candidates committed to ending American sovereignty and creating a new world government in its place are chosen by the respective major parties.
If you examine where Santorum's problems in Indiana arose it happened right here in Marion County where a Republican election official in the Marion Co. Clerks office, who takes her orders from state party officials, went over the Santorum petitions with a fine tooth comb. Although Santorum submitted more than enough signatures, this election official disqualified the signatures of any Marion County voter on the petitions shown not to reside in the 7th congressional district. A newly-drawn congressional map has reduced the county's representation by four congressional districts to just two. Most of the county lies in the 7th District but a significant area along the northern part of the county lies in the newly-drawn 5th District. Santorum's campaign has been knocked for getting signatures of people within the county who aren't in the new 7th District. The truth is that many of those signatures came from persons who attended the Marion County GOP slating convention, most of whom are precinct committeepersons who should have known whether they lived in the 7th District.
As I've publicly stated before, I'm supporting Ron Paul's campaign. I have no vested interested in seeing Santorum's name appear on the Indiana ballot, but I think it would be a real travesty if Indiana Republican voters were denied a choice of voting for one of the four major candidates still in the race just to make Romney's path to winning the nomination a little more smooth. There are no accusations that Santorum's campaign forged the signatures of voters on their petitions in order to get on the ballot as Barack Obama's campaign did in order to make the ballot in 2008. Four years ago, a political hack for the Democratic Party tried desperately to get John McCain bounced from the Indiana ballot, challenging the sufficiency of the number of signatures his campaign filed.
Frankly, this entire GOP nominating process this year has been one major disappointment starting with the poorly-run Iowa caucus that mispronounced Romney the winner only to later discovery Santorum had actually won it. The party elites have become apoplectic since Gingrich stomped Romney in South Carolina and Santorum scored three wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri this past week. Party leaders in Maine likely rigged the vote there this weekend to deny Paul a victory there. Romney's campaign has run a scorched earth campaign against his opponents since the Iowa Caucus, particularly against Paul and Gingrich, probably because the facts prove that he isn't a genuine Republican or conservative and most Republicans can't stand the man. I'm not sure what GOP leaders are trying to accomplish with this election. Defeating Barack Obama certainly doesn't seem to be the end game.