Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb has called for a federal investigation after the resignation of a top Democratic Party official amid allegations that he submitted forged petitions that allowed both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to get on the state's primary ballot in 2008.
Butch Morgan, chairman of the party’s 2nd Congressional District, resigned on Monday night, although he protested that he had done nothing wrong and was quitting because he didn’t want to be a distraction in upcoming local elections, reports the South Bend Tribune
Hundreds of names on the petitions have been found to be false, and even the state’s former Democratic governor has admitted that his signature was faked.
Republican Chairman Holcomb called on the U.S. Department of Justice to start a federal investigation, saying that Morgan “may very well be the first domino to fall in this growing scandal."
“It is becoming clearer by the day there was nothing isolated about the forging and certifying of potentially hundreds of signatures in the 2008 Democratic primary," Holcomb said.
As for Morgan, he issued a statement saying: "I regret having to resign and hope no one will misinterpret the reasons for my resignation. I have done nothing wrong and I look forward to an investigation that will exonerate me of any wrongdoing.”
Indiana state law requires that a candidate needs to gather 500 signatures in each of the state’s 92 counties before their name appears on the ballot. The forged signatures appear on the petitions for Obama and Clinton in St. Joseph County which forms much of the 2nd District in northern Indiana.
Holcomb’s Democratic counterpart, Dan Parker, agrees on the need for a federal probe but called the apparent St. Joseph County forgeries “an isolated incident.”
Former Gov. Joe Kernan told The Associated Press last week that the signature that bore his name on the Obama petition looked nothing like his real signature. “Nor does the printing look like mine,” he said.
Obama eventually beat Republican John McCain in Indiana in 2008 by around 18,000 votes out of more than 2.7 million cast. The 2nd Congressional District is held by four-term Democrat Rep. Joe Donnelly, who held off Republican challenger Jackie Walorski by fewer than 7,000 votes in 2010.
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