The Full Altmire Statement on Court Ruling
Yesterday afternoon, Judge Dan Pellegrini ruled that Rep. Jason Altmire had sufficient petition signatures and would remain on the primary ballot. It brought some closure to two weeks of legal wrangling between he and opponent Rep. Mark Critz.
But one of the most interesting aspects of yesterday’s news was Altmire’s response to the ruling. Need a 362-word summary of the tenor of the Pa-12 campaign? Read the press release below.
And although the Critz camp did not release a similarly bombastic statement, their next move may be just as telling. A win on appeal is highly unlikely (see our legal analysis for the reasons why), but the Critz camp said yesterday it is considering legal options. Why? Only they can know. But you can bet they’re pondering the unflattering press coverage Altmire received through this ordeal – all for a few thousand dollars in legal fees.
Without further ado, Altmire’s statement:
Ross Township, PA – Today, after an exhaustive review, the Commonwealth Court confirmed what we knew all along — that my campaign turned in more than the required 1000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. We knew this to be true on the day we submitted the signatures and we knew this to be true the day Mark Critz filed his futile and cowardly challenge.
By placing a higher value on his own political advancement than the rights of western Pennsylvania voters, Mark Critz wasted the time and resources of the Court and showed the true desperation of his campaign. His actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of respect not only for the democratic process but also for the rights of ordinary citizens who wanted nothing more than to offer voters a choice on the ballot.
Trailing by double digits even in his own polls, it is unsurprising that Critz lacks confidence in his ability to win the primary. He came into Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland Counties, sought their Democratic endorsements, and was defeated in all three by a combined 74 percent of the vote. Now, he has filed an unsuccessful legal challenge and attempted to remove from the primary ballot the name of the endorsed Democratic candidate, who also happens to be the current elected representative of citizens in those counties. The audacity is breathtaking.
In filing this unsuccessful challenge, Mark Critz has lowered himself to tactics usually reserved for elections to high school prom king, rather than the United States Congress. Simply put, his actions are beneath the dignity of the office he seeks and an insult to the voters he hopes to represent.
Mark Critz’s desperation “Hail Mary” pass has fallen incomplete. Hopefully he has learned that the way to win an election is not through political dirty tricks and lawsuits, but rather in the court of public opinion at the ballot box. I look forward to spending the final seven weeks of the primary campaign discussing the issues that matter most to western Pennsylvania voters, not engaging in a petty back and forth with a desperate campaign that is hopelessly behind and clearly out of fresh ideas.