It's ballot-bumping season

Posted: March 20, 2014

LEGAL CHALLENGES were filed yesterday to knock a dozen Philadelphia candidates for the state House from the May 20 Democratic primary-election ballot.

The challenges include:

* A voter in state Rep. Brendan Boyle's 170th District in Northeast Philly claims that 833 of the 1,052 signatures he submitted are invalid. State representatives need 300 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Voter Michelle Szydlowski's filing claims that 833 of the signatures were on pages notarized by Boyle's assistant chief of staff, Nicholas Himebaugh, violating a state law that says a notary can't have a direct or "pecuniary" interest in the transaction.

Boyle also is running for the 13th District of the U.S. House, which covers part of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, in the primary election. Boyle spokesman Ken Snyder dismissed the challenge as a "nuisance."

* Three voters challenged the nominating petitions and statement of financial interests filed by former state Rep. Babette Josephs, who is seeking to reclaim the 182nd District seat she lost in 2012 to state Rep. Brian Sims.

The voters - including Duncan Black, who blogs as "Atrios" at eschatonblog.com - claim that 480 of the 599 signatures filed by Josephs are invalid, including 231 that include "information that appears to have been provided by someone other than the signer."

Black said his signature was forged on a Josephs petition.

The voters also claim that Josephs' listing of her occupation as "attorney-advocate" was incorrect because she placed herself on the Pennsylvania Bar Association's "inactive" list in March 2012. And they say she failed to list ownership in an Oregon-based investment business.

Josephs said she is still a lawyer despite being inactive, and didn't think she needed to list the Oregon business ownership.

* Sean Stevens, who yesterday said he is withdrawing as a candidate for the 194th District, which runs from East Falls to Roxborough, challenged the residency of incumbent state Rep. Pam DeLissio. Stevens claims that DeLissio has received a homestead exemption for property taxes on a condo in Harrisburg each year since she bought it in 2009, making that her real residence.

DeLissio also owns a condo in her district and has not applied for the city's new homestead exemption for that property.

DeLissio yesterday said that she considers her Philadelphia address to be her residence, noting that the homestead exemption in Harrisburg has been worth $70 or less each year she received it.

She said her driver's license, renewed in 2010, lists the Harrisburg condo as her address.

"It's just very unfortunate personal error," DeLissio said. "There's no malicious or willful intent to do anything but what I was supposed to do."

* State Rep. Mark Cohen's nominating petitions are being challenged by his primary opponent, Jared Solomon, in Northeast Philly's 202nd District. Solomon claims that Cohen did not reach 300 valid signatures because some of the pages were incomplete and others were notarized by Phyllis Swing, an employee in his legislative office.

* Two voters challenged the petitions of Bobbie Curry, who is running against state Rep. Cherelle Parker in Northwest Philly's 200th District. Voters Raimon Artis and Melissa Scott claim that only 14 of the 842 signatures collected for Curry are valid.

* Other challenges were filed against: Jeffrey Voice, running against state Rep. Kevin Boyle in Northeast Philly's 172nd District; Paul DeFinas and Arlen LaRue Sr., running for Northeast Philly's 173rd District seat being vacated by state Rep. Mike McGeehan; David Lee Hall, running against state Rep. James Clay Jr. in the 179th District, which stretches from Olney to Frankford; Leslie Acosta, running against state Rep. J.P. Miranda in North Philly's 197th District; Quetcy Lozada, who is running against state Rep. Angel Cruz in the 180th District, which includes North Philly, Kensington, Feltonville and Juniata Park; and John Lee Connelly, running against state Rep. Rosita Youngblood in the 198th District, which includes Nicetown, Logan and Ogontz.


On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

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