Annette Bosworth, the South Dakota Senate candidate who found out she lost her race on a live Fox News segment, was charged with perjury on Wednesday afternoon for allegedly lying on the required petitions to get her name on Tuesday's ballot. She faces 12 felony charges: six counts of perjury and six counts of filing false documents. Another Senate candidate in the state, Clayton Walker, was also charged with perjury after Attorney General Marty Jackley's investigation into the petitions of several state ballot candidates.
Bosworth, a medical doctor, only took in about 5 percent of the vote on Tuesday, compared to the 55 percent haul from former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds. But she became a nationally recognizable figure — at least for those who frequent Fox News — after she called out the sexism she faced on the campaign trail. In a press conference held in a room surrounded by graffitied slurs that Bosworth says she's been called in the past, Bosworth blamed liberals and the media for that sexism, in particular for letting offensive comments stay in the comment threads on articles about her.
But if you look at the local reporting on Bosworth's candidacy, the controversy over those hateful comments was clearly secondary to existing accusations that the candidate might not have told the whole truth about her ballot petitions. In particular, she faced scrutiny when it appeared that the candidate simultaneously witnessed petition signatures in South Dakota and went on a mission trip to the Philippines in early 2014. She even admitted that she had done so in at least one case, in response to a question from the Argus Leader last week at that same graffitied press conference:
"Did my sister sign the petition while I was in the Philippines? Yes, she did," Bosworth said. "Did I sign that I know her, and that I affirmed that was her signature? Yes, I did."
Bosworth's sister, Peggy Craig, signed the nominating petition on Jan. 7. Bosworth signed that form as petition circulator, below the following line on the forms: "I, under oath, state that I circulated the above petition, that each signer personally signed this petition in my presence, and that either the signer or I added the printed name, the residence address of the signer, the date of the signing, and the counter of voter registration."
Bosworth said she hadn't done anything wrong as a petition circulator.
According to the affidavit filed on Wednesday, Bosworth was clearly out of the country (she even blogged about her January mission trip and posted pictures of herself in the country to Facebook) on the dates that she signed the petitions, under oath, stating that she personally witnessed several signatures from South Dakota voters.
Bosworth denied that she had done anything wrong in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, and called the charges from Attorney General Jackley's office "political prosecution." As Reuters notes, Jackley was appointed by rival candidate Rounds when he served as governor. Jackley previously announced his investigation into Bosworth and Walker, however he also said that he'd wait until after the election before filing charges in order to avoid swaying the results of either longshot candidate. Walker was running as an independent, but his name was already removed from the general election ballot after his petition signatures were challenged.
Each of the felony counts Bosworth faces could carry a 2-year jail sentence and a $4,000 fine. Her first court date is June 23.
The full affidavit is below, via the Argus Leader: