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Breaking: Judge Rules Altmire to Stay on the Ballot

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:

Altmire Opinion

6 Responses

  1. Mikus has a history of dirty ticks. Critz hitched his wagon to a sleeze merchant. Johnstown??? Yea, Altmire in a romp.

  2. Didn’t care who won this challenge. However, I am disappointed that the Court did not use this as an opportunity to state the the circulator-must-reside-in-the-district rule in PA is unconstitutional, like other states have. By deciding based upon a weighing of the facts at hand, the Court essentially made this appeal-proof (appellate court is almost assuredly going to defer to the lower court on this sort of thing) and did not have to address the constitutional issue.

  3. This is the Chicago way, used by and defended by the President in his own elections.

  4. Is this guy Mikus not think the only people reading his press releases don’t work on other campaigns? Name one campaign that doesn’t have a bunch of bad signatures. When you have volunteers collecting signatures it makes it tough to just turn in perfect signatures. I’m sure lots of Critz’s signers put a zip code instead of a date, signed instead of printed, used their mailing city instead of their municipality, or used an abbreviation for their city.

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