State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Guzzardi challenge ruling to come "quickly," judge says

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 3, 2014 1:08 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

A Commonwealth Court judge said Thursday she plans to rule "quickly" on whether Gov. Corbett's only Republican challenger will be removed from the primary election ballot.

Bob Guzzardi, GOP candidate for governor, faces challenges that the signatures on his nominating petitions were questionable, that he didn't file a statement of financial interest to the right state agency on the right day, and that he misrepresented himself to voters by calling himself a lawyer, instead of an inactive lawyer.

So, when he's asked, leaving court, if state election rules put non-incumbents at a disadvantage, he has to laugh.

"Is that a question?" Guzzardi said. "This process is clearly skewed."

Voters backed by the GOP hauled Guzzardi to court this week to challenge his nominating petitions and sundry other requirements under state law for candidates. Lawrence Tabas, general counsel for the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania, argued that the candidate took a "casual approach" to the rules.

Gretchen Coles Sterns, Guzzardi's lawyer, countered Thursday that such claims amount to "gotcha politics." Upholding them, Sterns said, allows "gaming of the elective process."

"Everyone has the same threshold to be listed as a candidate on the ballot," said Megan Sweeney, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania GOP. "This is just another step in the process of being a candidate."

Guzzardi calls it by another name: "incumbent protection."

"It was the Republican State Committee trying to get a Republican off the ballot," said Guzzardi, a Montgomery County activist and (inactive) lawyer. He calls himself a "minor nuisance" of a challenger. He plans to spend a minimal amount of money on the race -- $10,000, while candidates are already raising tens of millions of dollars.

"Realistically... what's my chance of beating Corbett, even in the nomination?" Guzzardi said. "Why is the Republican State Committee so scared of me?"

Published in State House Sound Bites

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