Mayoral Candidate Fends Off Petition Challenge Despite Invalid Signatures
Jon Whaley is still on the ballot, even though it was proven he did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions.
A candidate for Erie mayor is still on the ballot, even though it was proven he did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions.
Jon Whaley is the candidate who is getting new life in his campaign for mayor. Things looked bleak for Whaley during a hearing before Judge John Garhart on Friday. A candidate for mayor needs 100 signatures from Republican voters in the city to get on the ballot. Whaley obtained 105 names.
The attorney for the citizen who was challenging the signatures convinced Judge Garhart to throw out 6 signatures, leaving Whaley with only 99 valid names. Whaley, however, did his homework. He found out that when a citizen challenges a nominating petition, that citizen must file a copy of the complaint with the county election office. That task was not done, and Whaley pointed it out to the judge.
Judge Garhart denied the petition challenge today, and Whaley remains on the ballot.
"The statute is relatively clear,"says Erie County Clerk of Elections Doug Smith. "You have to serve a copy of the objection to our office, as well as the Prothonotary's office, which is the way the courts are alerted in all of this. And our office was not served."
Whaley's courtroom triumph is big election news. If the challenge of his petitions was approved by the judge, there would be only one Republican candidate for mayor running in the May primary. Now, Republican voters have a choice.
Now that his spot on the ballot is secure, Whaley will face attorney John Persinger in the GOP race for Erie mayor.