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Judge dismisses candidate’s complaint against incumbent Lincoln senator

September 7, 2018

A Lincoln state senator correctly filled out the required paperwork to appear on the primary and general election ballots, a Lancaster County District Court judge said Tuesday.

Judge John A. Colburn dismissed a challenge by Bob Van Valkenburg that Sen. Matt Hansen had not signed his annual statement of financial interests and did not mark himself as a candidate on the form.

Van Valkenburg also alleged Secretary of State John Gale and Frank Daley, executive director of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, acted inappropriately in failing to rule Hansen ineligible.

Colburn said Hansen properly submitted a statement of financial interests on Feb. 22, and that the document was provided to Van Valkenburg upon his request March 8.

The sitting state senator, who represents northeast Lincoln in the Legislature, also completed the nonpartisan filing form and paid the $120 filing fee to appear on the ballot, Colburn wrote in his order.

But contrary to Van Valkenburg’s allegation, Nebraska’s state statutes “do not require legislative candidates to check the box titled ‘A candidate for elective office’ when filing their statement of financial interests,” he wrote.

“Instead, the statutes merely require the candidates ’to file with the (Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission) a statement of financial interests … neither of which require them to check a certain box.”

Colburn said the state provided ample evidence that Hansen met the filing requirements outlined in state law.

The judge added that Van Valkenburg failed to file his challenge with the Secretary of State’s office or with a court before the deadline, which requires those actions “on or before the fifty-fifth day preceding the election.”

Both Hansen and Van Valkenburg will appear on the November general election ballot, however. Hansen won the May primary with nearly 77 percent of the vote in Lincoln’s District 26.

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