Bye-bye Babette; former lawmaker tossed off ballot

Posted: April 04, 2014

THERE WILL BE no rematch next month between former state Rep. Babette Josephs and state Rep. Brian Sims, the man who defeated her in 2012 after 14 terms in Center City's 182nd District.

Josephs was removed from the May 20 Democratic primary ballot yesterday after a Commonwealth Court judge ruled that she did not have the required 300 signatures from registered voters on her nomination petitions.

Josephs submitted 599 signatures but her lawyer and the lawyer for those challenging her petitions agreed before the one-hour hearing that only 467 of them were potentially viable.

Another 171 signatures were thrown out after voter registration records showed that the man who collected them listed an inaccurate address for himself.

The man, who Josephs later said was hired to collect her signatures, listed a former address at a social agency for the homeless at 12th and Bainbridge streets in Center City. He moved his voter registration last year from there to a rowhouse at 54th Street and Lansdowne Avenue in West Philly.

Adam Bonin, lawyer for the challengers, said he focused on those petition pages because it was the quickest course toward removing Josephs from the ballot. The challengers were prepared to prove that forgeries and other problems were littered through Josephs' petitions.

"There was major fraud in these petitions, which we would have proven," Bonin said.

Josephs has had a particularly bitter relationship with Sims, who served as her campaign treasurer in 2010 before defeating her in the 2012 primary.

She has cast him as more interested in traveling and speaking about himself than in constituent services.

Sims, who through a spokesman declined to comment about Josephs being bumped from the ballot, previously responded to her claims with a state-funded newsletter that said he has actually done "significantly" more constituent-service work in his rookie two-year term than she did in her final term.

"I'm disappointed, of course," Josephs said after the hearing, getting one more dig in on Sims. "I think it was important for the state representative there now to understand that this is not about him. It's not about me. It's about the people of the 182nd District and the people of Pennsylvania."

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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