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‘Occupy’ Candidate Kleinman Strategy: Withdraw from PA-13 Ballot

Kleinman with Rep. Joe Sestak during the 2010 campaign.

Update: Kleinman is off the ballot. From PhillyClout:

Nate Kleinman, an Occupy Philly member, this morning dropped his bid to get his name on the April 24 Democratic primary election ballot to challenge U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz for the 13th District seat.  Facing a legal challenge to his nominating petitions, Kleinman decided to try a run for the seat with a write-in effort.

Kleinman unsuccessfully tried to play a narrow legal game in a hearing this morning, denying that he had been properly served with the legal papers filed by four of Schwartz’s political supporters.  Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Rochelle Freidman was not swayed, telling Kleinman she thought he “did everything possible to avoid being personally served.”

Things turned a bit testy and then childish outside the courtroom, when one Kleinman supporter hectored Fletman and Neil Deegan, Schwartz’s political director, about the case.  Another Kleinman supporter fiddled with the elevator buttons, causing the the doors to repeatedly open as Fletman and Deegan tried to depart.

Occupy Movement candidate Nate Kleinman, who is challenging Rep. Allyson Schwartz in the Democratic primary, says he can’t afford a legal defense against challenges to his petitions. If the Commonwealth Court declines Friday morning to dismiss the case, he’ll withdraw  and run a write in campaign.

“If the Court does not accept my Motion to Dismiss the case tomorrow, I will immediately withdraw my nomination petitions and devote the next seven weeks to teaching voters how to spell my name,” he said in a release.

Kleinman turned in just over 1,500 signatures; 1,000 are required to make the ballot, but 2,000 is the typical threshold to avoid challenges.

“If need be, I will run the biggest, baddest write-in campaign Pennsylvania has ever seen. Write-in campaigns have been won before, and if necessary I will win this historic race as a write-in.”

“Since I don’t have $2.3 million in the bank, and since the primary is less than two months away, I cannot afford to spend the next few weeks fighting this matter in Court – which is just what the Schwartz campaign would like to see me do. I have far more important things to do with my time, like feeding the homeless, cleaning up vacant lots and turning them into productive community gardens, organizing against just this kind of status quo politics that has left the poor and the middle class behind while propping up the 1%, and meeting with voters to hear the problems that keep them up at night.”

His argument to dismiss: he says he wasn’t served notice of the challenge.

“I personally prepared all of the documents filed with the Commonwealth Court this morning, including the Motion to Dismiss the case based on the fact that the four ‘Objectors’ to my petitions never served me with any Court Order, as was required by the Court itself.”

Based on recent precedent, it seems unlikely that the court will toss the challenge on those grounds. A candidate for State House in Fayette County – albeit a convicted felon – was booted from the ballot Thursday despite making the same claim.

Schwartz is an overwhelming favorite to keep her seat. One of the nation’s most prolific fundraisers, she has routinely cruised to re-election since winning the Montgomery/Philadelphia district in 2004. She currently has over $2.3 million cash on hand.

The Republican candidate is Joe Rooney, a USMC veteran and commercial pilot.

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