GOP Favorite Ogonowski Thrown Off Ballot in Massachusetts

Posted June 3, 2008 at 5:42pm

In yet another blow to Republicans, the national party’s candidate of choice in the Massachusetts Senate race has not qualified for the ballot, according to his campaign.

Retired Air Force pilot Jim Ogonowski (R), who was courted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to challenge Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), released a statement that his campaign did not qualify for the GOP primary in the Bay State.

Over the past week, the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office said Ogonowski was about 82 signatures shy of the ballot, though his campaign insisted he would turn in the required 10,000 certified names by Tuesday’s due date.

But in a statement released from the campaign, Ogonowski spokeswoman Alicia Preston said that some of the town clerks who had certified some of the signatures has erred and not properly signed the papers. Even though the papers were corrected, Preston said, they were not returned to the secretary of state’s office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, as required.

“The removal of those certified signatures from our totals, thereby dropped us below the threshold needed to qualify for the ballot,” Preston said.

Given that the Bay State has not sent a Republican to Congress for more than a decide, Ogonowski’s challenge to Kerry was a long shot. Another Republican, former 10th district candidate Jeff Beatty, is also running and has qualified for the ballot.

The Ogonowski campaign, however, said it is still considering its options for the GOP primary.

“Previously, the campaign had made a conscious decision not to challenge questionable activity at town clerks’ offices, because it felt it would be unnecessary. This activity included: missing signature sheets, sheets mailed to Jim before being picked up eliminating the possibility of a review, and great disparity between original claims of initial signature counts and actual totals. However, due to today’s developments, the campaign will be reviewing its options on the matter.”

A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, Brian McNiff, said that as a rule, campaigns have until June 6 to file any objections with the office. McNiff added that a verdict is typically passed within three weeks.

But that did not stop the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from celebrating Tuesday evening.

“Getting enough signatures to make the ballot is campaign management 101, and with only two recruits in the entire country to focus their attention on, you’d think the NRSC would be able to get this right,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said.