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Koplinski Hires Lawyer To Challenge Paterno Petitions


Harrisburg City Councilman and Lieutenant Governor candidate Brad Koplinski retained elections lawyer Lawrence Otter to challenge the petitions of other Lt. Gov. candidate Jay Paterno.

Otter is very optimistic about Paterno being removed.

“It’s a sure thing,” Otter told PoliticsPA. “The petitions are terrible.”

The son of famed football coach Joe Paterno announced a few weeks ago that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor, but his petition filing this past week was not on par with what one would expect for a candidate with arguably the best name recognition in the state. According to the petitions available on the Department of State’s website, he filed just under 1,200 signatures with some counties that hovered around the 100 signature threshold.

Paterno was an early frontrunner, likely thanks to his name recognition, but this petition challenge could bring a very swint end to his campaign.

UPDATE: Paterno issued the following statement following our post.

“I am confident in the petition signatures I submitted. I oversaw the petition gathering effort. A member of my family, a volunteer or myself gathered each one of these signatures. The people of this Commonwealth are tired of politics as usual and we look forward to discussing the real issues that matter to working families here in Pennsylvania. Voters in the Commonwealth should be the ones to select the party’s nominee for Lt. Governor.”

If he’s removed from the ballot, that will leave Koplinski, former Rep. Mark Critz, State Rep. Brandon Neuman, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith and State Sen. Mike Stack in the running for the Democratic nomination.

26 Responses

  1. “You don’t challenge if you don’t have the evidence in hand already.”

    Tell that to the PAGOP. They do it all the time to unendorsed candidates they can scare away. I’m convinced that it’s a power-play designed to keep unfavored candidates away from FUTURE cycles. Just one more, expensive, hurdle they have to cross.

    Works pretty well too.

  2. I’m sure that the other camps have already printed them and found the errors. You don’t challenge if you don’t have the evidence in hand already. As others have stated, this isn’t about ballot access, it’s about adhering to the requirements. If Paterno doesn’t have the required number of valid signatures, he doesn’t belong on the ballot. I think his numbers speak for themselves including what for someone named Paterno is a shameful number from Centre County. Even with his late announcement he still had 2 1/2 weeks to get petitions. He should have had 1000 from Centre alone. A race for State Senator should have been Jay’s first entry into politics and would have been a good stepping stone to a statewide race.

  3. WesternPA Ron-
    I think the mismatched counties are clerical errors by dept of state, or part of the confusion/chaos with all the candidates rushing to file.

    Possibly an error feeding the first sheet, causing every sheet to be off by one. This seems to be the case for a few candidates.

    A real challenge is going to print out every sheet anyway.

  4. Beaver isn’t listed as one of Paterno’s 5 100 signature counties. They are Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Mifflin and Philadelphia. Mifflin and Chester 108 & 109 respectively are the two easiest targets followed by Philly at 119. But the bigger question is why are Paterno’s counties listed on the Dept. of State so screwed up? Look at Chester Co and you’ll find other counties listed there as well.

  5. You can go on the Department of State website at under 2014 candidate database and review Jay Paterno’s petitions. The fatal flaw is pretty easy to find. He doesn’t have 100 signatures from at least 5 different counties. The problem is under the petitions listed under Beaver county. There aren’t actually 7 petitions from Beaver county, some are from Montgomery County. Once you separate them, there aren’t 100 signatures from either county. He’s not going to withstand the challenge and will not be on the ballot.

  6. I’m with David on this one as I am one of the 8 million registered PA voters who didn’t attend Penn State and wouldn’t support Paterno for the local school board, let alone Lt. Gov. He’s a cautionary tale for others whose unearned notariaty gives them a sense of entitlement. No matter who your Daddy was, you have to do work, raise the money, and get the damn signatures. Pathetic.

  7. jjcnpa-
    The PSU alums have their heads up their collective @sses when it comes to Paterno family. They act as though they are defending some integrity of PSU, honor in football and humanity in Paterno Sr.
    All of these believes are misguided and not only a symptom, but more accurately, the cause of “the institution” and its image given preference over abused children.

    Screw the Paterno family. (and I mean screw them in a shower)

    Your posting was “dumb” because your statements were idiotic and without merit. Progressives call out idiocy all the time. (ex: FoxNews hosts)

    Wolf broke out of the pack on his own. He hasn’t been some Dem insider manufactured by party hacks. He’s plenty progressive and has the right values and a good story.
    In some ways, Wolf’s an Independent, who shares Democratic values.

    Sounds like a win-win scenario all around for his campaign.

    But, to pretend like there’s no choice compared with Corbett is ridiculous. Corbett seems to the voters to be the most bought/paid-for governor in history and is certainly the least popular.

  8. Paterno vs Koplinski re: petitions – two jerks fighting over who is less jerky.

    For as many people as there are/were running for governor and LG, it’s sad that there were really only one or two good candidates on either side. With Hanger out and with Koplinski and Paterno looking like one will come out on top on the second tier race, progressive Pennsylvanians will likely only have these options as their choices in November: Vote Repulican and keep the bullshit government you hate or vote Democratic and bring back to the bullshit government you hated before, but stomached because you had no other options. I don’t understand why people are even bothering at this point. Pennsylvania had a golden opportunity to move into a solidly progressive direction and is currently blowing it in favor of bland, milquetoast moderates who are trying to pass themselves off as johnny-come-lately liberals.

    Maybe we just shouldn’t vote. If Pennsylvania is going to do what it’s always done and disappoint us with the primary election, it’s almost insulting when the Democrats hold up a McCord or a Wolf as someone to get “excited” about after they obliterated our hopes in favor of Harrisburg’s preferred candidates. If government is going to suck either way, I frankly no longer see the point in complying with the inevitable request to vote for anyone with a D next to (most likely and unfortunately) his name. It’s so depressing that it sickens me. Things will never change here. The political system protects its own. It’s getting perilously close to that time when progressives give up and just hope that whomever takes or retains power in Harrisburg doesn’t do too much damage over the next four years.

  9. There is a Congressman, a State Sen and a State Rep running for Lt Gov. Why would I vote for an ex assist. football coach or a part-time city councilman of a bankrupt small city of 38,000 residents? Koplinski and Paterno are both unqualified.

  10. David, he was the leader in the one and only poll that has been published and you obviously don’t live in Central Pennsylvania or are one of the 326,00+ PSU alums that live in PA. Not all PSU alums were voting for Paterno but they greatly respect the family as do I. Yes some people in Central PA will be angry at Koplinski. By the way I am not sure who I am voting for in the Lt Gov primary. I am not impressed with anybody and really think the Governor should choose his/her “running mate.”

    Also, you only make yourself foolish calling people’s posting dumb and using LOL to respond to another poster. I really don’t understand why on so many comment sections and blogs people feel a need to tear each other down especially progressives who are supposed to embrace the best in people. But I have never found one political persuasion to be nicer than the other.

  11. If petitions don’t meet the criteria it is not about ballot access it is about process and procedure.

    The ego games about name recognition must stop – we democrats get nowhere by pretending to be progressives but not astute and legal about how we view the offices we put candidates toward.

    Brad has spent a long time in politics has real programs and supports real issues. He is doing the right thing.

    And if Larry Otter takes the case it is real because he is always about the constitution and proper ballot access. He goes toward election laws for both sides and to the issues.

    Mr. Paterno’s supporters have to stop hiding behind progressives allowing ballot access when the issue is legal access.

  12. There won’t be much blow back for Koplinski. Most people didn’t know Jay was running and most people won’t know he gets struck from the ballot.

    It is on Jay Paterno to run a good, legitimate campaign. He obviously wasn’t ready for prime time.

    If he wants a politcal future, this will be on him. Jay will have to accept his mistake and move forward. If he takes it personal and seeks revenge against Brad, it will only make him look worse. Paterno needs to get himself and his campaign together and look towards a State Senate run. That will be a good starting point for him.

    Most of the readers here have worked on campaigns. It is rough. It takes time and money and you need good volunteers. You can’r run for LT Guv on a whim.

  13. jjcnpa-
    Wow. That’s one of the dumbest things you’ve written yet.
    1) Hardly anyone knew Paterno was running
    2) Even fewer think he’s a Dem
    3) He could even get enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.

    Zero blow-back for Koplinski, especially compared to the votes Paterno might have gotten from foolish Penn State fans who happened to notice him name on the ballot in May.

    LOL !

    Robbie and Real Progressive-
    Paterno entered based on his name, and no real policy issues. He was completely out-classed in the Lt Gov debate at Progressive Summit.
    Progressives support fair ballot access requirements. But then, you have to meet the requirements.

    The rest-
    If Brad did not issue the challenge, then one of the other candidates would have. I know of at least one other candidate who was had already reviewed the petitions and determined them to be very defective/insufficient). Keystone Politics had also reviewed them and posted some defects. Paterno was going down either way. Brad just happened to be the first one to step up to the plate for the easy pitch.

  14. I guess Brad isn’t worried about angering Central Pennsylvanians especially in his home county. Bad political move.

  15. But if Paterno is kicked off the ballot, the Republicans won’t have direct access to the Lt Governor’s office after the election! Oh wait. Don’t care.

    Jay– Don’t you have other issues to worry about, like I don’t know… your family’s involvement in one of the biggest PR scandals in PA history?

  16. Here’s another one for Koplinski not being a progressive — Larry Otter is working for the Republican Party this year. Yep, Brad’s a real progressive.

    Koplinski has almost no $, can’t raise $, and will spend a large chunk of his $ hiring Otter. Otter will be laughing all the way to the bank.

  17. How funny. Some progressive Koplinski is trying to throw someone off the ballot.

    You are right. Koplinski is a hypo-crite. Now its “Brad is in favor of ballot access… unless it does not benefit Brad” Lets revise that at future forums.

  18. Oh crap now there’s another Mike Johnson who posts on Politics PA huh?

    Well to address the other Mike – this is NOT party infighting. Petitions are a requirement to get on the ballot so that not just any nut can declare themselves a candidate. Do you really want to have to go through 5,000 candidate names in every primary? If Paterno can’t get his act together to gather the signatures that are required, and do it properly, then blame him for his failure – don’t blame whoever files the challenge. The same goes for any candidate who files with just barely over the minimum number.

    Anyone with a day of political experience should know that to sleep well at night you should be submitting double the requirement, simply because honest mistakes by signers and circulators will cause a lot of signatures to be considered invalid.

  19. Rules are Rules. If Mr. Paterno would follow the rules and put in the work that all the other candidates did, this wouldn’t be a problem. You have 3 weeks to get this right or don’t run. The State Department isn’t there to reject these petitions right there on these grounds because they don’t have the resources to do so. Mr. Paterno should just think of dropping out.

  20. It would have been better if Koplinsky had gone to Paterno instead of the press with the evidence that his petitions could not withstand a challenge, giving him an opportunity to withdraw before making headlines. Tacky.

    So much for all of Brad’s talk at the Progressive Summit in support of ballot access. When it is to his advantage ballot access be dammed.

  21. Just what we need – part infighting. Look we are facing one of the best funded, well organized PA Republican machine that will get Mr. Corbett elected if we don’t stop our own infighting. Just yesterday his entire re-election staff was named and they are BIG names with plenty of money. Knock off this infighting now so we can get a Democrat back in office. Otherwise keep this penny ante stuff up and suffer 4 more years of the same garbage.

  22. He announced too late. I had already signed another candidate’s petition when he got in the race.

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