GOP activist charged with forging names in 7th district race
By Tom Mulkeen, Contributing writer
The state Attorney General’s office arrested a Delaware County Republican operative today of forging signatures on a petition to get U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R-7) on the ballot in an uncontested primary.
Paul Summers, 59 of Upper Darby, was charged earlier today with seven counts of forgery and seven counts of making false signatures and statements.
Each forgery count carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The false signatures and statements charges are punishable by up to a year in prison and a $500 fine according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
This story originally broke last April when some of Meehan’s neighbors told him that their names had been on a petition, which they did not sign. Meehan gave county D.A. G. Michael Green several questionable petitions that had been circulated by Summers. Green forwarded the case to the Pennsylvania Attorney General at the time, Tom Corbett, because of a potential conflict of interest, since he had donated money to the Meehan campaign.
Democrats in the area became curious about the petitions when it was discovered that Terry Bradley, the wife of Ed Bradley, chairman of the Upper Darby Democrats, had her name listed on a Meehan petition. They began asking Upper Darby residents who brought it to the attention of Meehan.
Ironically enough, Meehan’s opponent in the general election, Bryan Lentz was also accused of questionable activity regarding signatures. He admitted late in his campaign that his staff had helped get Independent Jim Schneller’s name on the ballot in the general election to take away votes from Meehan. Lentz denied that this was “improper” in an interview with the Delaware County Times.
The general election in the politically competitive seventh district, which was held by Joe Sestak before he left it open to run for the Senate, was supposed to be one of the closest in the country, considering CQ Politics, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Stuart Rothenberg, and the Cook Political Report all had it rated as a toss-up. However, Meehan ended up winning the election by about eleven points.