State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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Guzzardi wins ballot challenge; appeal expected

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 15, 2014 1:56 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Bob Guzzardi tilted at the windmill and won. A Commonwealth Court judge has ruled he'll remain on the Republican gubernatorial primary ballot as Gov. Tom Corbett's only challenger.

The state GOP's general counsel, Lawrence Tabas, who argued against Guzzardi's nominating petitions, said he'll "absolutely" file an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. "I'll be prompt," said Tabas.

Over a two-day hearing in court in early April, Tabas argued that Guzzardi shouldn't be on the ballot because he didn't file financial interest statements on time to the right agency. But in her opinion released Tuesday, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt sided with Guzzardi, who testified he got bad instructions from a state clerk. "The Court finds that there was a breakdown in the administrative process," said Leavitt in her written opinion.

Leavitt batted away arguments that Guzzardi misrepresented himself on forms when he called himself a "semi-retired businessman and lawyer." Tabas had argued that Guzzardi should have called himself an inactive lawyer, since he is no longer practicing law. But Leavitt called Guzzardi's wording "logical," and wrote "there is no evidence that the electorate was deceived." She also deemed his nomination petitions to have enough signatures to satisfy election laws.

Guzzardi, who lives in Montgomery County, was not available for comment. His lawyer, Gretchen Sterns, said he's celebrating Passover. Sterns hailed the ruling as "a victory for the democratic process and Republican primary voters," and called it a recognition that her client met the "spirit" of the state's election laws.

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