Rules are not made to be broken after all.
Shawn Dillon missed a step along the road required to be a candidate for the state senate. Now one Dillon’s campaign is done and another is beginning.
The Democratic leader of Ward 66A in northeast Philadelphia, Shawn withdrew from the race after Republicans, led by longtime 45th Ward leader Kevin Pasquay, challenged his candidacy in court last Friday. His replacement – younger brother Jim.
The elder Dillon’s campaign was halted because he did not file a statement of financial interest with the State Ethics Commission. “Due to a paperwork error that was just discovered this weekend, I will be withdrawing from the 2022 special election for Senate District 5,” he tweeted. “This is a very frustrating turn of events, and I am disappointed to leave the campaign trail. I believe in my heart that this was our election to win, but I also know that this election is bigger than just one person.”
Now the question is whether Jim Dillon is actually a qualified candidate.
The GOP nominee – Sam Oropeza – claimed via Twitter that Shawn Dillon was never a qualified candidate. “How can he withdraw from the race if he was never a candidate? In order to be considered a candidate you must first file your paperwork. This is more political games being played by the Philly political machine.”
Since there was no timeline as to when Commonwealth Court would rule on the challenge to Shawn Dillon’s candidacy, Democrats could have been left without a candidate on the ballot. Ward leaders, most of them on Zoom, joined party boss Bob Brady and state Sen. Sharif Street in a caucus to pick Jim Dillon.
Jim Dillon, 43, a grant compliance monitor for the Philadelphia School District, played basketball for Notre Dame from 1996-2000 and now also runs a basketball training academy.
Democrats have a 2-1 voter advantage in the district. However, the district is thought to be more competitive than most in Philly after Donald Trump won two of the wards in 2020 – the 58th and 66th.
Former state senator John Sabatina Jr., resigned the seat in January after being elected as a Common Pleas judge. The special election winner will finish his term which runs through 2024.