HD-197: Democrats Push for Last Minute Substitution

HD 197Last week, the Commonwealth Court ruled that Frederick Ramirez was ineligible to be on the ballot for the special election in the 197th House District.  The House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) is looking to replace Ramirez with a hard deadline of Friday.  

HDCC filed a replacement candidate with the Department of State Monday morning.  The Department of State is expected to deny the request, which is where the drama will start.  

Update: The new candidate is Emilio Vasquez, an auditor at the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

The Department of State is expected to deny the new filing because the window for changing the names on the ballot has already passed.  But the filing in Commonwealth Court that ruled Ramirez was ineligible occurred after that date had passed meaning HDCC could not possibly file in time.  

HDCC and the Democratic Party are exploring all legal options to ensure the candidate’s name is on the ballot.   

The Commonwealth Court ruled in 2014 that the Republican Party could replace the name of Rep. Chris Ross on the ballot in the General Election after Ross decided to end his bid for re-election in September.  The Court cited that voters deserve a choice in elections as one of the main reasons for their decision.  They could rule similarly in this case, but since it is a special election, the process for getting on the ballot is different and could cause problems for that argument.  

If all routes to get the new name on the ballot fail, HDCC feels pretty good about its chances running a write-in campaign.  The 197th is 85% Democratic and only 5% Republican.  

Republicans are running Lucinda Little for the seat.  The Philadelphia Republican Party believes that the election is a good chance to have the district represented in the majority caucus.  

“Getting a Republican elected out of the 197th would get the attention of the Republican leadership, and give the district a voice in the caucus,” Philadelphia GOP Chairman Joe DeFelice said.

February 27th, 2017 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 23 Comments

23 thoughts on “HD-197: Democrats Push for Last Minute Substitution”

  1. Bart says:

    Write in Cheri Honkala from the Green Party. She has been an activist for poor people for decades.

  2. Zakrey Bissell says:

    I will be glad for Lucinda Little will win this Special Election on Tuesday march 21st 2017.

  3. charles says:

    With only one candidate on the ballot, it is becoming clear that this race will go to a write-in. The one candidate with a commitment to the residents of the 197th district and a history of organizing on economic justice issues, is Green Party candidate, Cheri Honkala. It is time to send a wake up call to Harrisburg.

  4. KSDF says:

    The Rivera incident isn’t an appropriate case to cite for saying that the Democrats should be placed back on the ballot. Roe won a write-in primary, in which Susan Rzucildo actively campaigned for a cross-over win.

    http://www.dailylocal.com/article/DL/20160427/NEWS/160429797

  5. GMAFB says:

    Yeah, Cuyler Walker was under a criminal investigation at the time and the Rep Party freaked out, knowing that if the details got out, the seat would be lost. They put the old boy back in. Then in 2016 their 1st candidate withdrew for petition violations and they had a special election. The extreme Right wing kid ran and won. Then after Val pumped a few hundred grand into his general race, he won that too. Kid wouldn’t say he was a Republican at the doors. Drug his wife around to make it look good, then has never added her to his state page. mmmmm. The Kid lied through his teeth but that’s what wins elections these days. Kid may not have lived here long enough to legally take office. The kids name is Eric Roe. Jesus told him to run and he did. Now we will become a christian state. He stated that PP misrepresented that he was against abortion however he has just co-sponsored the most restrictive abortion bill against women.
    Just like Trump- you got what you voted for people.

  6. TAE says:

    This is such a biased article, obviously hoping they will be able to add a Democrat to the ballot and then win. There is no mention of Cheri Honkala, the Green candidate for the district. She is also a write-in because the Dept. of state told her campaign they had all the paperwork to place her on the ballot, then after the deadline said she was missing something that she should not have needed because the Green party now has ballot access in PA. If the Dems succeed in adding a candidate to the ballot the same should be the case for the Greens!

  7. Jules Mermelstein says:

    If the courts let the Democrats put someone on the ballot late because the first chose someone who doesn’t live in the district, then the courts will have no choice but to let the Greens put Cheri Honkala’s name on the ballot. The Greens missed the deadline by one day after being (intentionally?) misled by the Democratic-controlled Department of State. The 14th Amendment requires equal protection of the laws.

  8. Legaleagle is correct says:

    Legal eagle is correct. The same thing happened when Lenny Rivera was taken off the ballot in the 158th. As a result there was no legitimate petition filed, and a write in campaign took place to fill the slot.

  9. Seneca says:

    The 197th is a sophomore-grade gerrymandered district designed to provide a safe Democratic seat in the state legislature. Due to demography and ambient political issues it is likely to remain in Democratic hands despite the complete maladroitness of the party’s leadership. And since someone at the party’s state level has determined that this has to be a “Hispanic” fiefdom, look for continuing frantic attempts to ensure it is filled that way.

  10. Legaleagle says:

    The big problem for Brady with this case is that there is no valid petition on which to change the candidate’s name. Fred’s petition was set aside.

    Commonwealth Court would have to recall Fred’s dead petition to change the name. The likelihood they’ll do that is low.

  11. The answer desk says:

    And has anyone figured out yet that the Parking Authority is a Republican patronage haven…so who in the Republican Party is Vasquez beholden to?

    Brady is a mess.

  12. The answer desk says:

    The Ross situation was totally different. Not the same legally at all.

    Honkala also got thrown off the ballot because Greens can never file papers correctly or on time.

    So Brady and his merry band of mixed nuts first nominated Ramirez, a union busting, sexual assault defending charter school operator who doesn’t live in the district, And follows that up with nominating a not so bright ward leader who was responsible for nominating Ramirez in the first place and who is close to Matos. Good job, Dems.

  13. Anne Covey- "Not Recommended" says:

    The judge who decided this case is Anne Covey. She lost when she ran for PA Supreme Court 🙂 The PA Bar gave her a “No Recommendation”. So she is not that bright. And obviously she ruled the way she did. This is her revenge for losing the PA Supreme Court.

  14. Zakrey Bissell says:

    please please vote for lucinda little in this special election in march 21st 2017.

  15. Porter Randolph says:

    Has no one noticed that the judge who decided this case is a Republican party hack from Bucks County, who, like all of them, hate 2 things, Democrats and Philadelphia. This case must have been a dream come true, a chance to screw both.

  16. Julie Varughese says:

    Cheri Honkala’s running as a Green in this district. She’s planning to open her office to the homeless and immigrants fearing deportation. Check her out: cheri197.com

  17. Neither blue nor red says:

    Bob Brady and the city’s Democratic machine should be ashamed of themselves. But this district has a history of Democratic shame — with Leslie Acosta and J.P. Miranda, the past two representatives of the 197th District have been convicted felons. The people of this district deserve something better than what the Democrats (and Republicans) are offering. Cheri Honkala is waging an active write-in campaign for this seat, and I encourage fair-minded folks to visit http://www.cheri197.com and consider helping her out!

  18. smarter says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. The HDCC should be ashamed of itself.

  19. They Don't Care About Us says:

    Bob Brady and his party prove again and again that they do not care about poor people. Their continued support of unqualified (legally, morally, intellectually, etc) candidates for the 197th and similar races is a shame that needs to be called about by those who advocate for the poor and vulnerable. The Democratic City Committee does not care at all about the poor.

  20. Zakrey Bissell says:

    I think for Little should win and that way for the Philadelphia delegation can have 3 Republicans in their corner and I am still be supporting Little for the Special Election in March 21st 2017.

  21. Tired says:

    Is there anything to be said about the Democrat Party causing its own mess? They chose someone to run in a Special Election (different rules than a regular election) who didn’t even meet basic requirements. Now they want relief from their own mistakes? I’m sure that the courts / lawyers will say that doesn’t matter, but if we have regulations why is no one ever penalized for not following them? It’s not like this matters much anyway: if Little wins she is there for two years and gone; if the Democrats win, they are so deeply in the minority that Rep will have zero power. If Little provides strong constituent services for two years and at least fights for the district, what’s the difference? Plus, maybe she won’t get indicted which would be a step up for the people of this district.

  22. KSDF says:

    The 2014 case involved the replacement of Cuyler Walker’s name with Chris Ross, who was set to retire.

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