Lehigh County Judge Edward Reibman ruled in two cases concerning challenges to Republican candidates for Allentown Mayor. Reibman rulings kicked Christopher Pez off the ballot, and kept Luiz Garcia on the ballot. None of the Democratic candidates had their petitions challenged in court.
Reibman ruled that 17 of the signatures on Pez’s nominating petitions putting him below the required 100 signatures. According to the Allentown Morning Call, most of the signatures that were ruled invalid were from signers who lived outside of Allentown.
Pez took being removed reasonably well.
“I’m upset, but I know I put my heart and soul into this. Obviously, I did it myself,” Pez said.
Reibman ruled in the challenge to Garcia’s candidacy as well. Garcia’s petitions were not challenged in court, but rather if he was allowed to run for office. Garcia is currently a police officer in Allentown.
Reibman ruled the courts don’t have the jurisdiction to rule if Garcia is in violation of any police department rules, and that the Allentown Board of Ethics is the venue for the challenge.
Allentown’s ethics code says that city employees are not allowed to participate in any campaigns for city office.
“We are doing everything we have to do as far as following all the rules when it comes to campaigning off duty.” Garcia told the Morning Call.
The ruling leave Garcia, and real estate developer Nat Hyman as the only candidates on the Republican primary ballot. Incumbent Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, David Jones, Ray O’Connell, Joshua Siegel, Charlie Thiel, and Nathan Woodring are all on the Democratic primary ballot.