Gutknecht case provides more ammunition for Ritchie

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Back in the good old days, when the secretary of state’s office seldom made headlines, the end of August in an election year was a time when staffers were gearing up for the September primary election. Not anymore. Today, Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer is hanging out at the state Supreme Court, where justices are hearing arguments related to 1st District Congressman Gil Gutknecht’s slightly bungled attempt to get on the ballot.

As you may recall, Gutknecht, unlike most candidates, refuses to pay a filing fee when he files for election. Instead, he goes out and collects signatures on a filing petition. It seems, however, that a large chunk of those signatures were not collected during the two-week period required by law. Kiffmeyer, being a good Republican, let the signatures stand, the DFL challenged it, and now we’re spending taxpayer’s money sorting the whole deal out.

This, of course, is providing DFL challenger Mark Ritchie with plenty of ammunition. In a statement released this morning, Ritchie pointed out with some glee Kiffmeyer’s “actions and inactions, errors and omissions” that require her attendance at the Supreme Court today.

This latest in a long trail of embarrassing administrative and political snafus by Kiffmeyer certainly gives Ritchie something to talk about. Whether voters are listening, of course, is another question altogether.

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