White Oak Republican Peoples removed from primary ballot
A Commonwealth Court judge removed White Oak Republican Kenneth Peoples from the May 20 primary ballot for state House in the 35th District.
Judge Patricia A. McCullough set aside the petition Peoples filed and rejected his argument that those filing against him did not have standing to do so.
Peoples could appeal McCullough's Monday ruling to state Supreme Court or run in the primary as a write-in candidate.
He learned of the ruling from a reporter and did not have a comment at presstime. However, Peoples previously said he planned to run a write-in bid if the court removed him from the ballot.
“We're pleased that the judge agreed with our contentions that Mr. Peoples did not have the legally required 300 (signatures),” said Ronald J. Brown, attorney for challengers Alexander D. Foster III and Carrie Mooney Gergely.
Gergely's husband is a relative of state Rep. Marc J. Gergely, D-White Oak, who is unopposed for renomination in the Democratic primary.
Brown said McCullough found only 291 valid signatures. Had all his challenges been accepted the final total would have been 275.
“That's not unexpected,” Brown said. “In the end there were enough defects so that there were insufficient signatures.”
McCullough drew on an April 3 court hearing where the number of signatures was reduced to 306, then on an analysis by a handwriting expert employed by Brown.
While it took two weeks for McCullough to make a ruling, Brown was not alarmed with the time needed.
“There was a pretty busy schedule of petition challenges,” Brown said. “I would just assume they were busy.”
Allegheny County Elections Division manager Mark Wolosik said there still is time to make a May 6 deadline for printing absentee ballots.
“We still have to do election machine testing,” Wolosik said. The county is “getting close” to completing the needed database.
“Once you close your database you can't keep making changes because you have to go back and retest everything,” Wolosik said.
Wolosik said Peoples could appeal to the state Supreme Court, as petitioners did after Commonwealth Court upheld Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Guzzardi's right to remain on the ballot beside incumbent Tom Corbett.
“I don't see anything other than the judge following the election code,” Brown said. He doubted that Peoples or his attorney Lawrence M. Otter could find any “critical, unresolved questions” to ask in a Supreme Court appeal.
Otter could not be reached for comment at presstime.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Legos, computers draw students to Elizabeth Forward tech camp
- Victim still hospitalized; McKeesport bar shooting hearing postponed
- Elizabeth Township business forum draws a crowd
- Voyager facility takes off at W. Mifflin’s County Airport
- Party to honor McKeesport woman’s memory, legacy
- Elizabeth Forward board OKs cost to move trailer