State commission rejects challenge to Rep. Banks, who will remain on the ballot

Aaron "A.j." Calkins argues unsuccessfully for the disqualification of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks at...
Aaron "A.j." Calkins argues unsuccessfully for the disqualification of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks at an Indiana Elections Commission hearing.(WPTA)
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 4:38 PM EST
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INDIANAPOLIS (WPTA) - An attempt to remove incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Banks from the ballot failed on Friday as an Indiana elections board was unmoved by claims that the congressman’s actions related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, should disqualify him from office.

Aaron “A.J.” Calkins filed the challenge. He is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the Third District congressional contest.

Calkins argued that Banks, a Republican, supported a “violent insurrection” and participated in a “coup,” violating his Constitutional responsibilities. Banks did not attend the hearing, but was represented by counsel, who argued that the state board lacked the authority to remove a candidate on a challenge citing the14th Amendment. His representative stated for the record that the congressman has been critical of those who broke the law at the Capitol one year ago.

The Election Commission -- split between Democrats and Republicans -- voted unanimously to dismiss the challenge.

Shortly before the vote on Banks’ qualifications, the Commission removed perennial candidate Tommy Schrader from the ballot, finding that he failed to properly file required paperwork. Schrader was seeking the Democratic nomination in the Third District.

The Commission also culled the field in the race for U.S. Senate, disqualifying two Democrats and one Republican. It means incumbent U.S. Sen. Todd Young, a Republican, and Democratic hopeful Tom McDermott, who is the mayor of Hammond, will be their party’s nominees in the November general election.

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