Thursday, March 19, 2015

Petition battle is of 'Primary' importance in Delco

What if they threw an election and nobody showed up?

We're not talking about voters. They do that all the time. Citizens likely will once again stay away in droves when the primary rolls around in May.

We're talking about candidates, specifically the Democrats running for County Council.

There is a dispute centering around their nominating petitions. A challenge has been filed because Richard Womack, Jack Evans and Christine Reuther failed to file the required financial statements with the county clerk. You can read all the details here.

As you might expect, the leaders of the county Republican and Democratic parties don't exactly see eye to eye on this. Republican Chairman Andy Reilly is calling it a 'fatal defect.'

His counterpart, David Landau, says the challenge to his candidates' nominating petitions lacks any merit. More to the point, he believes this is a perfect example of what happens when you have one-party rule, as has been the case in Delaware County government for decades.

He believes the system is tilted toward the party in power.

"They make the rules and they know them," Landau told me in a phone call after the story hit the paper. "It's not designed to be user friendly for Democrats."

You can say that Landau is not exactly a fan of the current system, and says the whole thing was botched by the people working in the county courthouse.

Still, I would think that someone should have been making sure all these candidates' papers were correct, that all the i's were dotted and t's were crossed. What? They didn't think the GOP would sniff out even a faint whiff of a problem.

It's not like the Dems have never filed these kinds of petitions before, even if they have failed to win a single county-wide seat for County Council since the Home Rule Charter was passed back in the mid-'70s.

In the meantime, Reilly could not resist a jab, wondering if they had this much trouble with their nominating petitions, how would the Dem hopefuls fare running the county with a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars and subject to a maze of complex state and federal regulations.

Ouch! I think the Democrats can expect to be hearing that one for awhile.

For now the while thing will go before a judge.

And if that ruling goes against his candidates, Landau is vowing to take the issue all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Only in Delco.

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