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U.S. Rep. Todd Young's Candidacy Challenged
Updated February 11, 2016 8:13 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana Democratic Party on Wednesday morning filed a formal challenge alleging Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young is two signatures short on his petition to file for the U.S. Senate race.

"We believe our candidates need to make sure they get the minimum signatures necessary to run for this office," said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. "It's important we hold our candidates accountable and make sure they are meeting state law."

To earn a spot on the primary election ballot, a Senate candidate must gather the signatures of at least 500 certified registered voters in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts - Officials say the county clerk could only certify 501 signatures in the First District for Young. Democrats then requested the signature sheets and counted them multiple times - coming up with only 498.

Five media outlets -- including The Journal Gazette -- joined together to conduct separate counts Wednesday morning of Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties certified signature sheets. They were compared with each other and matched, with 355 signatures in Lake; 120 in Porter and 22 in LaPorte, bringing the total to 497 - below the required amount needed to file.

The Indiana Election Commission will consider the challenge at its February 19 meeting. The Indiana Election Commission - two Democrats and two Republicans - will decide whether to consider and rule on such a challenge. In the past these challenges generally always result in a tie, and candidates are rarely removed from the ballot.

If Young is disqualified, that would leave U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman as the only Republican candidate for U.S. Senate following the withdrawal of Eric Holcomb on Monday to become lieutenant governor.

Young and Stutzma are contending for the Republican nomination for the seat from which GOP Sen. Dan Coats is retiring.

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