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Massachusetts: Ogonowski’s Ballot Status Remains in Peril

Retired Air Force pilot Jim Ogonowski (R) might be in the danger zone for not getting on the ballot today, but his campaign and national Republicans maintain that he is on track to challenge Sen. John Kerry (D) this fall.

Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the Massachusetts secretary of state, said Ogonowski so far is 82 certified signatures short of the 10,000 approved names required to get on the ballot statewide. A spokeswoman for Ogonowski’s campaign, Alicia Preston, said she was confident the campaign would turn in the required number of signatures.

“We intend to turn in on Tuesday enough to be on the ballot in November,” Preston said in a phone interview.

In the Bay State, statewide campaigns must turn in petition signatures with their corresponding municipalities by May 6 for certification. The municipalities have until May 27 to certify the signatures and electronically submit their counts to the secretary of state, whose count currently has Ogonowski off the ballot.

McNiff said he’s not sure where the discrepancy lies.

“Certainly there could be more certified signatures out there that weren’t run through the state registry, and that’s something we won’t know until he files his state papers,” McNiff said.

But even if Ogonowski makes it on the ballot, he could be facing a legal challenge from at least one of his opponents, former 10th district candidate Jeff Beatty (R). The campaign manager for Beatty, Joe Manzoli, said once it’s clear whether Ogonowski is on the ballot, the campaign could consider a legal challenge.

“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” Manzoli said.

Ogonowski, who ran a close but losing campaign in the 5th district special election last October, was courted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to run against Kerry, who is favored to win re-election in a state that has not sent a Republican to Congress for more than 10 years. Through a spokeswoman, the NRSC said it is confident Ogonowski will be on the ballot.

— Shira Toeplitz

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