| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mon-Yough residents seek to remove GOP challenger from 35th District primary

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

McKeesport Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, March 28, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

Two Mon-Yough residents want to remove a Republican challenger of state Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak, from the spring primary ballot in the 35th Legislative District.

The candidacy of Kenneth Peoples, 42, of White Oak will be on the line Thursday in Commonwealth Court.

Filing on behalf of Alexander D. Foster and Carrie Gergely, Pittsburgh attorney Ronald J. Brown said numerous signatures on Peoples' petition as posted on the Pennsylvania Department of State website are not from registered Republicans.

Brown said he found other irregularities as well.

“It is pretty straightforward that candidates like Mr. Peoples need 300 valid signatures,” Brown said. “Mr. Peoples filed with 331 attempted signatures (and) we've challenged 77.”

No one else filed to run in the GOP primary nor against Marc Gergely, 44, in the Democratic primary.

Foster is from White Oak, as are Peoples and Marc Gergely. Carrie Gergely is from the Fawcett Plan area straddling McKeesport and White Oak.

Peoples called the challenge to his petitions shameful and said he did not have the “special interest money” to hire an attorney to defend his petitions.

“My petitions may not be the neatest, however they were gathered at every free moment of time I had available, going door to door in harsh winter weather while holding down an honest job,” Peoples said. “I am not a career politician with the time and helpers that comes with incumbency. My petitions are comprised of honestly obtained signatures that I will defend to any judge.”

The appeals court scheduled a hearing for Thursday at 1 p.m. in Courtroom 1 on the 17th floor of the Frick Building in downtown Pittsburgh.

Brown is one of 12 shareholders in the law firm of Grogan Graffam PC. Other shareholders include Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa Jr., D-Forest Hills.

Peoples is a paramedic, real estate agent, White Oak Republican Committee chairman and past candidate for McKeesport Area school board and Allegheny County Council.

The challenge to Peoples is the only one involving a Mon-Yough candidate.

Other challenges pending before Commonwealth Court include a bid by four voters to remove Robert R. Guzzardi, the 70-year-old Montgomery County conservative activist seeking to unseat Gov. Tom Corbett in the GOP primary.

Two voters filed objections to the bid by former Penn State assistant football coach Joseph V. “Jay” Paterno Jr., 45, for the Democratic nod for lieutenant governor.

The Paterno case is scheduled on Monday while the Guzzardi case is set for Wednesday, both in Harrisburg.

Gergely, a former McKeesport Area school board president, hasn't had much opposition in six state House terms.

In the spring of 2002 he won the Democratic nod to succeed Rep. Tom Michlovic, D-North Braddock, with 38 percent of the vote to 32 percent for then-fellow McKeesport Area school director Lori Spando and 30 percent for Christopher M. Terrick of Munhall.

No Republican ran in 2002 and Gergely had no primary foe in 2004, but that fall Libertarian David Posipanka of Homestead mounted the first of two 35th District challenges, losing to Gergely by 92 percent to 8 percent.

Then-Allegheny County Clerk of Courts George Matta II took on Gergely in the 2006 Democratic primary and was edged out, 54 percent to 46 percent. Gergely then was unopposed in the fall of 2006.

Gergely's last electoral opponent was Posipanka in the fall of 2008. The Libertarian netted 11 percent to 89 percent for the incumbent Democrat.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read McKeesport

  1. Local reminisce about Glassport pool
  2. Mon Yough school districts, nonprofits getting by for now with no state budget
  3. Homestead Cemetery board files for bankruptcy
  4. Mifflin Road project is on schedule, within budget
  5. Steel Valley extends superintendent’s contract
  6. More work to begin on Homestead-Duquesne Road
  7. Irwin woman waives sex charges to court
  8. Details emerge in North Versailles drive-by shooting
  9. Homeville Viaduct project should extend life of span
  10. Legos, computers draw students to Elizabeth Forward tech camp
  11. Golf pro says no plans to reduce holes