Nader qualifies for spot on state ballot
HARRISBURG -- Barring a challenge like the one that knocked him off the Pennsylvania ballot in 2004, perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader will get to compete in the state as an independent candidate in this year's White House sweepstakes.
Nader, who's still fighting a court order to pay $81,000 in legal costs of the voters who challenged his nomination papers the last time around, apparently succeeded in collecting the 24,666 voters' signatures that he needed by Friday to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.
The deadline to file challenges to independent and third-party candidates is Friday.
On Monday, Nader and his 2004 running mate, Peter Miguel Camejo, petitioned the state Commonwealth Court to overturn the $81,000 judgment on grounds that the ballot challenge was orchestrated by Democratic lawmakers and aides in the state House of Representatives as part of a conspiracy to illegally spend public money for political purposes.
Last month, the state attorney general's office filed criminal charges against a dozen people connected with the House Democratic caucus as part of an ongoing investigation.
In the 2004 challenge, nearly two-thirds of Nader's signatures were declared invalid after a review that involved 11 Commonwealth Court judges.
In ordering Nader's name stricken from the ballot, the presiding judge cited widespread evidence of fraud that "shocks the conscience."