A former longtime aide to Gov. Mitch Daniels is challenging GOP businessman Jim Wallace's qualifications to run for governor.
Mitch Roob filed a challenge with the Indiana Elections Division on Thursday afternoon charging that Wallace had not collected enough signatures from certified voters to run against U.S. Rep. Mike Pence in May's Republican primary.
Roob formerly served as Daniels' economic development chief and human services secretary.
Wallace came up 14 signatures short of the 500 needed in Indiana's 7th District last week. The Indiana Elections Commission is scheduled to hear the Wallace challenge next Friday.
The four-member panel is also set to hear more than two dozen challenges to Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum's appearance on the May ballot. Santorum came up 8 signatures short in the 7th District.Like the challenge to Santorum's presidential ballot petitions, questions over the number of valid signatures filed with Wallace's petitions arose in Marion County in which the 7th District is located. Typically, a candidate files the petitions and as long as there are a sufficient number of signatures on the petitions, it is presumed the candidate has satisfied the requirement, except in Marion County. Here, a Republican-appointed, county-paid employee scoured the petitions filed by both the campaigns of Santorum and Wallace to ascertain if all of the signatures on the petitions were voters residing in the 7th District. Most, but not all, of Marion County's voters reside in the 7th District. The government elections employee, Cindy Mowery, did the work that normally falls to an opposing candidate's campaign to marshal evidence and lodge a challenge against an opponent's candidacy.
Santorum has questioned Marion County’s decision to throw out 49 signatures. But Cindy Mowery, Republican member of Marion County Board of Voter Registration, said the signatures are still invalid.
“I don’t think any of these signatures that they brought in matter,” Mowery said. As of Monday afternoon, Mowery said she had not done a thorough review of the signatures, but she said she talked with Santorum campaign lawyers in the morning and based on their arguments decided the county’s earlier decision to disqualify him for the ballot would likely stand.Roob didn't have to go down to the Clerk's office and review those petitions himself; he relied on the information Mowery furnished to him. That's not how the process is suppose to work. That's tantamount to a judge gathering evidence and announcing the findings of that evidence without a party having to do that work themselves before filing a lawsuit.
Remember when Marion Co. Clerk Beth White learned that Patrice Abduallah had used an address on his statement of candidacy that was located outside the 15th District he represented on the City-County Council? She notified him by letter of the problem, but she did not announce the discrepancy publicly or otherwise put others on notice so they could file a complaint against his candidacy. When people like myself complained about her lack of candor, White said as the county's chief elections officer she had no right or legal obligation to challenge the sufficiency of Abduallah's statement of candidacy. Yet Cindy Mowery is scrutinizing the petitions of some Republican candidates like Santorum and Wallace and publicly declaring them insufficient. What gives? Does anyone care? In 2008, Barack Obama was able to file petitions containing hundreds of forged signatures on his Indiana ballot petitions and nobody even noticed. The Indianapolis Star is still sticking to its blackout order on coverage of that story broken by the South Bend Tribune and Howey Politics.