Indiana officials reject GOP representative’s ballot challenge against banks

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana officials on Friday rejected an attempt to oust Republican U.S. Representative Jim Banks from the ballot for claiming he violated the Constitution by allegedly supporting the U.S. Capitol insurrection last year. .

The state Election Commission, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, voted unanimously against the challenge filed by a longtime Democratic candidate for the northeast Indiana district of Banks.

A lawyer for Banks argued that the allegations were baseless and that removing Banks from the ballot would deprive his supporters of their preferred representative in Congress.

“Congressman Banks has publicly stated that he does not support or engage in this conduct, and he also called for prosecution for unlawful conduct that occurred that day,” said attorney Paul Mullins.

Democrat Aaron Calkins of Fort Wayne told the committee he believed Banks violated the 14th Amendment’s ban on members of Congress engaging in “insurrection or rebellion” by supporting the efforts of the then-President Donald Trump and his supporters to nullify the election of President Joe Biden.

Banks, a staunch Trump supporter, was voted out last year by House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the top Republican on the committee investigating the Capitol uprising, which was followed by the boycott of the group by House GOP leaders.

A similar 14th Amendment challenge is pending against North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

The Indiana commission also voted to remove a Republican candidate and two Democratic candidates from the May primary ballot for the U.S. Senate for failing to meet the state’s requirement to file petitions signed by at least 500 voters. registrants from all nine congressional districts by the Feb. 4 deadline.

The ruling leaves Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. running unopposed for their parties’ Senate nominations for the November election.

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