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2 of 3 challenges nixed for Fayette office hopeful

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County man has lost the second of three challenges he filed seeking to eliminate his competition for an elected office by invalidating nominating petitions.

Robert “Ted” Pritchard of Fairchance is one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for prothonotary. He has asked the courts to strike the nominating petitions of the three other candidates — Pamela Hudson, Paul Shipley and Nina Capuzzi Frankhouser.

Pritchard alleged the other candidates' nominating petitions contained various errors and omissions, or had illegible names and signatures.

In addition, he wanted the Election Bureau to compare all of the names to voter registrations to ensure the signers were registered.

On Tuesday, Senior Judge Gerald Solomon denied Pritchard's motion against Shipley as untimely. Pritchard missed the deadline to file the challenge, Solomon said in a four-page opinion and order.

The deadline to challenge, Solomon indicated, was seven days after the March 12 filing deadline for the nominating petitions.

Pritchard presented the challenge to the prothonotary's office within that time frame, but he failed to pay an $86 filing fee until April 1, which was past the deadline.

Solomon said state law indicates that the prothonotary is not to docket a “any suit or action or order of court … until the requisite fee is paid.”

Solomon had earlier denied Pritchard's request to allow him to proceed in pauperis, or “as a pauper,” until he had the money for the filing fees.

On Monday, Judge Steve Leskinen denied Pritchard's challenge against Frankhouser, but Pritchard has filed an appeal with Commonwealth Court.

President Judge John F. Wagner Jr. held a hearing on Hudson's petition on Monday, but he has not yet issued a ruling.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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