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Iowa State Auditor Says Finkenauer Made Inappropriate Attack on Judge Who Ruled Against Her

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2020 file photo, Abby Finkenauer talks with journalists at the Linn County Democrats' office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Democrat Abby Finkenauer, a former congresswoman, is running for Republican Chuck Grassley's U.S. Senate seat, hoping her blue-collar credentials will propel her forward in a state that has grown more conservative over the years. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP)

DES MOINES, IA – Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, says U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer’s criticism of a district court judge who ruled against her bid to stay on the June Primary ballot was inappropriate. Finkenauer is one of three Democrats competing to run against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in November.

“That judge did his job,” Sand says. “He worked all weekend to get that ruling issued on a Sunday night in order to give whoever was going to be the losing party a chance to appeal.” Finkenauer called the judge a Republican who made a partisan decision that made a mockery of our democracy. A few days later, the Iowa Supreme Court overruled the decision that had invalidated three signatures on Finkenauer’s nominating petitions and Finkenauer’s name WILL be on the June Primary ballot. Sand, who is an attorney, says the district court judge Finkenauer criticized is well-respected.

“I’m really proud of Iowa’s court system,” Sand says. “We have one of the country’s crown jewels in a non-partisan judicial nominating system…that sorts out the people who want to go in there and be political, and so what we end up with is a body of judges who do a good job of applying the facts to the law.” Sand discussed the matter during taping of “Iowa Press” which airs Friday night on Iowa P-B-S. Sand indicated he called Finkenauer to say he found her criticism of Judge Scott Beattie to be inappropriate.

“I told her what I thought and, to her credit, she said: ‘Thank you for this. We’re going to step back some of this and tone some of this down,'” Sand says. “Politics is tough. I think sometimes having people that you have a decent relationship who you can call and give a perspective to can be useful and, to her credit, when we had that conversation, she decided that she didn’t want to do that anymore.” A spokesman for Finkenauer’s campaign has not responded to requests for comment on Sand’s statements.



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