Local hodgepodge of election fraud charges back and forth between Democrat candidates for state representative 51st District,
Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Interesting, challenges across the state of PA.
Ernest Simon, an Edgeworth Democrat, who is running against state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, in the 37th Senate District.
The hearing is set for March 16.
Lawrence D. Brestensky, a Freeport Democrat, who filed as a candidate in the 41st Senate District against state Sen.
Don White, R-Indiana County. Brestensky, a steel worker, said he has decided to withdraw from the race.
Democrat Tim Mahoney, of South Union Township in the 51st House District. The challenge comes directly from incumbent
state Rep. Larry Roberts, D-Uniontown. A hearing will be held March 11.
Separately, Mahoney has called on Roberts to resign after having produced statements that petitions for a third Democratic
candidate were notarized in Roberts' Fayette County office and that the signatures allegedly were forged. As of Thursday,
there was no formal complaint in Commonwealth Court against Roberts.
...A common thread in the complaints against Democratic Senate candidates Simon and Brestensky, filed by the same Harrisburg
law firm, alleges that, in some cases, petition circulators weren't present when the documents were notarized. A notary listed
in documents in both cases was Janet L. Snyder, of Dauphin County, an executive secretary in Harrisburg to Sen. James Ferlo,
Snyder said the allegations are false.
Pippy challenger to stay on ballot
Democrat continues in state Senate race
Friday, April 09, 2004
By Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ernest Simon, whose petitions to run for state Senate in the 37th District were challenged, will be allowed to run for
the Democratic nomination.
Baathism in Pennsylvania
Sunday, March 28, 2004
By Dennis Roddy
In a strategy as cynical as it was open, the Democratic House orchestrated a series of challenges to Republican incumbents.
On Wednesday three of them, state Reps. William Gabig, R-Cumberland, Chris Ross, R-Chester, and Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre,
were tossed off the ballot because they overlooked line 10 of the state's financial disclosure form. While listing their occupations
as state representative, they didn't think to write down "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" as a source of income. Possibly they
believed people would already know that a state legislator's salary is paid by the state.
Ten incumbent Democrats committed the same oversight, but they were never challenged.
A fourth Republican incumbent, Robert Bastian, R-Somerset, decided not to fight a ballot challenge because legal fees would
have depleted his campaign treasury. He's running a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination.
"This was a selected, coordinated tactic targeting Republicans," said Lawrence Tabas, lawyer for the four Republican lawmakers.
"Elections are more and more being fought on two stages: in the courts and at the polls."
Indeed it was. Mike Manzo, chief of staff to DeWeese, said staff from both parties pore over nominating petitions in search
of fatal flaws. House Democrats found the disclosure errors and, in the case of Democrats, called them in to correct their
forms and, in the case of the four Republicans, began putting together a legal case.
"Our political arm reached out to the counties to see if there were any Republicans disenchanted with the Republican candidate
and in every case there was," Manzo said.
The tactic is not exclusive to the Democrats. One Republican lawmaker, who faced his own ballot challenge a year ago, learned
the lesson and used it this year.
In 31 legislative districts, a series of challenges has prematurely ended the candidacies of 21 hopefuls. In eight of those
cases the results left the Republican incumbent likely to go unchallenged in the autumn.
In the 37th Senate District, which includes portions of Allegheny and Washington counties, incumbent Republican John Pippy
came close to knocking his Democratic challenger off the ballot. To do so, his campaign appears to have lined up three Democratic
voters in Washington County. They asserted that Democrat Ernest Simon's nominating petitions were fatally flawed.