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2 appeals by prothonotary hopeful denied

| Friday, April 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Commonwealth Court judge on Thursday affirmed rulings that denied a Fayette County prothonotary candidate's bid to have the names of two competitors stricken from the ballot, but she ordered that a hearing be held in regard to a third candidate.

Robert “Ted” Pritchard of Fairchance is one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for prothonotary.

He challenged the nominating petitions of the other three candidates in an attempt to have their names taken off the ballot, but three Fayette County judges denied the challenges.

Pritchard appealed all three denials to Commonwealth Court, but Judge Anne E. Covey affirmed the Fayette judges' rulings on candidates Nina Capuzzi Frankhouser and Pam Hudson.

President Judge John F. Wagner Jr. denied Pritchard's objection to Hudson's petition after holding a hearing.

Judge Steve Leskinen did not hold a hearing on Frankhouser's petition, but he issued an opinion and order in which he listed various reasons for denying it.

For the third candidate, Paul Shipley, Covey vacated Senior Judge Gerald Solomon's order in which Solomon denied Pritchard's challenge as untimely without holding a hearing.

Covey found that Pritchard's objections were “timely filed,” and she ordered the case remanded to Fayette County for a hearing.

“Given the time constraints inherent to election cases, the trial court is directed to conduct the hearing and render its opinion on the merits no later than May 6,” Covey said in the order.

The primary will be held May 21.

Pritchard said he intends to appeal Covey's findings on Frankhouser and Hudson to the state Supreme Court.

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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