It’s been a long two weeks for Rep. Jason Altmire, but Monday afternoon the three-term Congressman breathed a sigh of relief: a Commonwealth Court Judge ruled that he would remain on the primary ballot in the 12th district.
Altmire’s campaign had turned in 1,651 petition signatures; 1,000 are required to make the ballot. Rep. Mark Critz’s campaign challenged the validity of over 900 signatures, but ultimately the question came down to Altmire campaign staffer Abby Silverman. Registered to vote at her parent’s address in the 12th district but living in an apartment in a different district, the question was whether she was legally allowed to circulate petitions for Altmire.
The Judge apparently decided that her parents’ address was Silverman’s valid residence. Check out PoliticsPA’s analysis of the legal reasons that led to the judge’s decision.
Altmire’s campaign was quick to declare victory on Monday afternoon.
“Mark Critz’s desperation ‘Hail Mary’ pass has fallen incomplete,” Altmire said in a release. “Hopefully he has learned that the way to win an election is not through political dirty tricks and lawsuits, but rather in the court of public opinion at the ballot box.”
It may be a Phyrric victory. The appearance of an unorganized campaign and questions about his future led to a drop off in momentum and reportedly also fundraising.
“We disagree w the judge’s decision and are currently exploring our legal options,” said campaign manager Mike Mikus.
“It was clear from the beginning that the the petitions Jason Altmire submitted were problematic. That they withdrew 400 of their own signatures – 25 percent – demonstrates that our case is very strong.”
Update: here is Judge Dan Pellegrini’s ruling: