Guzzardi Wins Ballot Challenge

Guzzardi Wins Ballot Challenge — Bob Guzzardi, the reformer seeking to unseat incumbent Tom Corbett and give the Republicans a halfway chance of keeping the governor’s office, is on the ballot in a decision handed down today by Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt.

Corbett’s team sought to keep Guzzardi off the ballot claiming he lacked the minimum number of valid signatures, misrepresented his occupation on his nomination petition and did not timely file a Statement of Financial Interests with the State Ethics Commission.

It is thought they spent between $25,000 and $50,000 in the futile endeavor.

Corbett’s team managed to knock the total number of signatures in Cumberland County from 131 to 104; in Delaware County from 182 to 159, from Lebanon County from 142 to 104 and from Northumberland County from 127 to 108.

The rule for ballot access requires 2000 signatures with at least 100 coming from 10 counties.

The objectors then levied challenges against 20 of the remaining names in Cumberland, 14 in Lebanon and 19 in Northumberland.

Corbett’s team picked over clear typographical errors, the use of diminutives rather than full names and even hired forensic document examiner J. Wright Leonard in a futile attempt to impeach the signatures.

Guzzardi’s attorney Gretchen Sterns successfully defeated the challenges citing case law and, at times, getting affidavits from those whose names were allegedly wrongly marked.

The occupation misrepresentation claim was based on Guzzardi describing himself as a “semi-retired businessman and lawyer”.

Corbett’s team said this was false because his state attorney license has been in inactive status since 2011 hence he was falsely calling himself a lawyer.

Judge Leavitt noted that Guzzardi’s description of his occupation was logical and consistent with common usage, and that there is no evidence that the electorate was deceived.

Regarding the Statement of Financial Interests, Guzzardi had filed one with the Department of State. Judge Leavitt found that the procedure changed this year and the directions for submission were confusing. She said the Guzzardi’s campaign was given incorrect information by “a Department of State employee with apparent authority” that he only needed to file with that department rather than submit a separate filing to the Ethics Commission. She noted the Department of State issued a receipt to Guzzardi that it shouldn’t have as he was filing with them the original rather than the required copy.

She noted that Guzzardi promptly correct the omission up learning of the problem.

Bob Guzzardi is on the ballot for May 20 in the Republican gubernatorial primary. As noted Corbett supporters spent at least $25,000 in an attempt to knock him off.

 

Guzzardi Wins Ballot Challenge

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