Secretary of State John Gale has accepted Pete Ricketts’ request to drop Lavon Heidemann’s name from the Republican gubernatorial ticket and replace it with Mike Foley.
Ricketts replaced Heidemann with Foley after Heidemann resigned as lieutenant governor and withdrew as the lieutenant governor nominee. Heidemann made the decision after his sister received a protection order against him in wake of a heated family dispute. Foley is the state Auditor.
The Secretary of State’s office says Gale received Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann’s declination yesterday as the running mate in the Republican campaign for governor. He also received the filing of Foley.
Gale acknowledged that state statue sets a deadline of September 1 to remove candidates from the statewide ballot. Gale, though, said that it was his duty as chief election administrator to supervise the conduct of elections in the state to insure the accuracy of the ballot and prevent voter confusion.
“In addition, a gubernatorial candidate has the sole constitutional right to designate his or her running mate for the ballot. This constitutional right must be heavily weighed against any statutory deadline,” Gale said in a written statement released by his office.
The ballot for the November 4th election has yet to be certified. Gale reasoned that refusing to accept Ricketts’ request could be viewed as a direct violation of his constitutional right to choose a running mate.
“There is no issue of greater importance than ensuring the accurate reflection of candidates on the ballot,” Gale said. “And for that reason, I feel compelled to act.”