IN Brief

Haley squeaks by on signatures but challenge could still come

By: - February 7, 2024 1:22 pm

Former South Carolina governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley barely qualifies for the Indiana primary ballot but must also survive a certification process.(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley narrowly qualified to appear on the Indiana Republican primary ballot in May after filing exactly 500 signatures in Marion County.

To appear on the statewide ballot, candidates for U.S. President, governor and senator must submit 500 signatures from each of the state’s nine districts for a total of 4,500 signatures.

But those signatures can be challenged, meaning that if even one fails to pass muster Haley will fall short of the minimum requirements to appear on the ballot.

An unofficial Indiana Election Division reports shows Haley gathering 6,071 signatures in total. All of the 7th Congressional District, where she gathered exactly 500 signatures, sits in Marion County.

A voter of the election district or a county chair in the election district can file a challenge by noon Feb 16 to dispute whether a candidate met the threshold or not. The Indiana Election Commission would ultimately decide the challenges.

The former South Carolina governor and U.S. Ambassador is challenging former President Donald Trump in the national Republican primary for the presidential nomination. After falling short in both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Haley lost to “none of these options” in the Nevada primary this week.

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Due to the late timing of Indiana’s primaries, the state typically doesn’t play a role in selecting party nominees for president.

The likely Republican nominee, Trump, seeks a rematch against President Joe Biden in November after losing the 2020 election.

For comparison, Trump submitted 6,202 signatures — reporting 563 for Marion County — while Biden gathered 8,533 signatures.

Trump posted at the end of January that Haley didn’t have enough signatures and wouldn’t be on the ballot. That was amplified by Third District U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, who posted “Donald J. Trump is the only candidate who qualified for the Indiana GOP presidential primary. Nikki Haley didn’t get enough signatures. It’s over. She needs to do what’s best for America and call it quits. Indiana is Trump country.”

Trump’s attorneys also sent a letter Feb. 3 accusing Marion County officials of allowing Haley to supplement or correct her signatures, and was considering all legal options.

A handful of other hopefuls fell short in their signature requirements and will not qualify for the primary ballot. They include U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, of Minnesota, and author Marianne Williamson — both of whom are running as Democrats. On the Republican side, pastor Ryan Binkley, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis businessman Vivek Ramaswamy also fell short.

Burgum, DeSantis and Ramaswamy have all dropped out of the official running, leaving Binkley, Haley and Trump in the Republican race.

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Whitney Downard
Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.

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