South Dakota authorities on Wednesday arrested former U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth, alleging she fraudulently attested to gathering voter signatures when she was really on a Christian mission trip to the Philippines.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley charged Dr. Bosworth with six counts of perjury and six counts of filing false documents related to election campaign laws. The arrest warrant was served a day after Dr. Bosworth lost the Republican primary with just 6% of the vote.
"The election complaints received by the Secretary of State involve conduct that is serious, deliberate, and must be addressed in order to preserve the integrity of our elections," Mr. Jackley said in a statement. "Because this is a federal elected office, I have and will continue to discuss the investigation with federal authorities."
Mr. Jackley said Dr. Bosworth, 42 years old, was given notice of the arrest warrant Wednesday morning and turned herself in to the Minnehaha County Jail. She was immediately released.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Bosworth called the charges "a political intimidation scheme" against her by Mr. Jackley, who was initially appointed to his position by former Gov. Mike Rounds. Mr. Rounds defeated Dr. Bosworth and three other Republicans on Tuesday to capture the GOP nomination for the seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Tim Johnson.
"We still believe this is a political persecution," Dr. Bosworth said in a prepared statement. She didn't take questions.
In May, Mr. Jackley announced that he would investigate several nominating petitions submitted by U.S. Senate candidates, including that of Dr. Bosworth, after a liberal blogger and a conservative state lawmaker raised concerns about the legitimacy of some petitions reported by The Wall Street Journal.