Republicans Try to Keep Libertarian Gary Johnson Off the Iowa Ballot

Romney Supporters File Challenge Urging Secretary of State to Exclude Libertarian Nominees from the Ballot in November

August 27, 2012, Tampa, Fla.  Jay Kramer, a Mitt Romney campaign supporter from Washington, D.C., filed a challenge on Friday to keep Libertarian candidate for President, Gov. Gary Johnson, from appearing on the Iowa ballot in November. The Romney campaign hired the Des Moines-based Nyemaster Goode PC for the challenge, which will be heard by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz on Monday at 3 p.m. 


"This is clearly a setup," said the Johnson campaign's attorney, Alicia Dearn. "The Libertarian Party had 2,000 petition signatures and should have been on the ballot without challenge, as they have always done in the past. But Republican Iowa Secretary of State Schultz — in violation of longstanding Iowa law — rejected the petition and required the Johnson campaign to caucus at the state fair. There, the Romney campaign surveilled the Johnson campaign's activities for the sole purpose of bringing this eleventh-hour challenge," Dearn said. 


The Romney campaign's challenge was filed Friday afternoon and set for a hearing on Monday afternoon. The 106-page challenge includes photographs of Johnson supporters asking fair-goers to support having Gov. Johnson and the Libertarian Party offered as a choice on the ballot. The Republicans' challenge claims that the state fair signatures should be thrown out because the signers are not Libertarians.


"The challenge is legally frivolous," asserts Dearn. "You don't have to be a registered Libertarian to want a third choice on the ballot. Iowans deserve to choose for themselves who to vote for, which is why Gov. Johnson should be on the ballot." 


Unlike many other states, Iowa has a perfect history of allowing third-party candidates onto the ballot.


"Iowa is one of the very few states that has never kept a general election presidential candidate off its ballot," said ballot-access historian Richard Winger. "It is a policy that saves money and work for elections officials, because Iowa doesn't need to tally write-in votes for presidential candidates when all such significant candidates are on the ballot."


According to Dearn, the Romney campaign is using similar tactics to keep Gov. Johnson off the ballot in Michigan and Pennsylvania.