Share This Page

Filings leave Corbett facing new challenge

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 9:18 p.m.

HARRISBURG — As state officials closed the door Tuesday on candidate petitions for Pennsylvania's May 20 primary ballot, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett faced not only a critical crowd of would-be Democrat challengers, but now a GOP foe at the opposite end of the political spectrum.

Bob Guzzardi, a conservative activist and Ardmore businessman, has been an outspoken Corbett critic, charging that he violated his 2010 campaign no-new-taxes pledge by increasing taxes on gasoline and authorizing new fees on natural-gas drilling.

In a telephone interview, Guzzardi renewed his own vow to self-finance his campaign and not accept contributions. He said his campaign will advocate “less debt, lower taxes, more for taxpayers, less for the government.”

“I did this so that Republicans have a choice,” he said.

The Democratic field narrowed Tuesday, the deadline for filing nomination petitions for various public and party posts, as Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz abandoned her longshot campaign, citing signature requirements she said were too rigorous.

“In the end I had to circulate petitions and I came up short, so I take responsibility for that,” Litz said late Tuesday. “I have no regrets and no Plan B.”

State officials said all six other Democratic gubernatorial candidates passed muster, meeting the requirement that they collect at least 2,000 voters' signatures, including at least 100 from each of at least 10 counties.

They are York businessman Tom Wolf, state Treasurer Rob McCord, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former state environmental protection secretaries Katie McGinty and John Hanger, and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner.

Guzzardi said he submitted only about 2,600 signatures and, though he said he filed additional signatures throughout the day, such a low total could make him vulnerable to a challenge of his petitions that could knock him off the ballot.

Candidates generally try to get several times the minimum number of signatures as a precaution against challenges. Corbett turned in more than 20,000 signatures Tuesday and “we have more coming in,” said his campaign manager, Mike Barley.

Challenges must be filed in Commonwealth Court by March 18.

Barley shrugged at Guzzardi's candidacy.

“It really doesn't change our campaign that much. We viewed this campaign as a full yearlong campaign,” he said.

Six Democratic candidates filed for the nomination for lieutenant governor: Jay Paterno, son of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, Harrisburg City Councilor Brad Koplinski, state Sen. Mike Stack, state Rep. Brandon Neuman and Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith.

Incumbent Lt.Gov. Jim Cawley was the only Republican candidate to file.

Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in the primary, but each party's nominees are joined in party tickets for the general election.

In other election activity, 16 congressional incumbents who are seeking re-election met their requirement — 1,000 voter signatures — as did more than two dozen candidates seeking to oust them or fill one of two vacancies.

The open seats are both in eastern Pennsylvania: the 6th District, where Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach is retiring at the end of this term, and the 13th District, which Schwartz is vacating to run for governor.

Hundreds of candidates filed for seats on the Democratic and Republican state committees that will be awarded on primary day. Each had to collect at least 100 signatures.

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.