WASHINGTON (WANE) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Young may be ineligible to run for the seat after a report surfaced that suggested he failed to submit enough petition signatures to appear on the May Republican primary.
According to the Indiana Democratic Party, the former Congressman submitted 498 valid signatures on nomination petitions from Indiana’s 1st District. To qualify for the primary ballot, Senate candidates must secure at least 500 registered voters.
The party conducted multiple hand counts of Young’s petitions to discover the issue, Politico first reported. The party has announced it will challenge Young’s eligibility now.
“The IDP is formally challenging Young’s petitions because it is imperative that every candidate seeking office in Indiana is determined to be eligible — and it appears Todd Young may not be eligible,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said in a statement.
Young is challenging Rep. Marlin Stutzman for the open Senate seat. Eric Holcomb quit his campaign this week to join Mike Pence’s gubernatorial re-election run as the Indiana governor’s lieutenant governor nominee.
The Indiana Election Division had previously reported that Young did surpass the 500-signature threshold, though narrowly, with 501 signatures in the 1st District. Politico reported that members of that division, though, had cautioned that their signature report was “not gospel” due to differences in the methods individual counties process and probe candidate petitions.
In a statement, Young’s campaign manager, Trevor Foughty, said Young submitted nearly 650 signatures in the 1st District, a count verified by both county clerks and the Indiana Election Commission.
“Indiana Democrats know they can’t beat Todd Young in an election, so they are making a desperate attempt to keep him off the ballot by disenfranchising the Hoosier voters who put him there. It won’t work,” said Young. “County clerks and the Indiana Election Commission verified we had the requisite number of validated signatures before we ever filed the ballot paperwork. We believe the actual number of valid signatures there is even higher than was verified.
“We are confident that at the end of this process, the Election Commission will reject the blatantly political gamesmanship of the Indiana Democrat Party. Todd Young will not only be on the ballot in May, but will be the Republican nominee and ultimately Indiana’s next U.S. Senator.”
Ultimately, the Indiana Election Commission will meet Feb. 19 to resolve ballot-access challenges, Politico reported. At that hearing, both sides can pitch their cases.