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Uniontown Councilman stays on GOP ballot

| Friday, March 9, 2012

Uniontown Councilman Gary Gearing will remain on the primary ballot in a bid for a state House seat.

In an order handed down on Thursday, Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough denied a petition to have Gearing's name removed from the ballot for the Republican nomination for state representative in the 51st District.

Through Pittsburgh attorney Ronald Brown, registered Republican voters Thomas R. Murray II and Robin Lynn Amend had sought to set aside Gearing's nominating petition. They argued Gearing's petition was short the required number of valid signatures.

A hearing was held last week in Pittsburgh. Yesterday, McCullough entered an order denying the petition to remove Gearing from the ballot. An opinion detailing her reasons for the denial was not immediately available.

Gearing's attorney, Lawrence Otter of Doylestown, said he was pleased with McCullough's ruling.

"We're delighted we were able to pull the rabbit out of the hat," Otter said. "I'm delighted he'll remain on the ballot."

Brown said yesterday that he had "no indication" whether his clients planned to appeal.

"It was a very close case. Even though the judge refused to strike the petition, (only) 302 valid signatures (were approved)," Brown said.

No other candidates are listed as seeking the Republican nomination. The only other would-be candidate for the Republican nomination, Michael Cavanagh of Uniontown, was stricken from the ballot because he has a criminal conviction for insurance fraud.

The incumbent, state Rep. Tim Mahoney of Uniontown, is the only candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat.

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