A Rapid City woman’s attempt to challenge Rep. Kristi Noem in the Republican U.S. House primary has been rejected by Secretary of State Jason Gant.
Stephanie Strong hand-delivered petitions with 2,018 signatures – more than the 1,955 she needed.
But Gant ruled just over 100 of those signatures invalid, leaving Strong with just 1,906 signatures – 49 too few to make the ballot.
Gant said a variety of mistakes invalidated some of Strong’s signatures.
The biggest, he said, was voters from large cities putting down Post Office Boxes as their address.
“You can’t list a P.O. Box if you’re from Rapid City, or any other first-class municipality,” Gant said.
Other petition signatures were struck down for being incomplete – not listing the county, the date, the city, or other entries.
Strong can challenge Gant’s ruling. In order to do so, she has to submit an affidavit in the next five business days identifying which signature lines about which she disagrees with Gant, Gant said.
Reached by phone in Pierre, Strong said she was surprised to have her petitions rejected.
“We definitely thought we had them ready to go to get on (the ballot),” Strong said.
Strong knew she’d probably have some petitions invalidated but believed she submitted enough extra signatures to get by.
She’s planning on examining Gant’s ruling and possibly filing a challenge.
“We’ll review this and do what we’re going to do,” Strong said.
If Strong doesn’t challenge Gant’s ruling, or loses her challenge, then Noem will automatically win the Republican nomination. Strong can still attempt to run for Congress as an Independent by submitting 3,171 signatures by June 5.
Two Democrats, Jeff Barth and Matt Varilek, are both on the ballot for the June Democratic primary.
Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or firstname.lastname@example.org