by Chris Young
Warm weather is finally here ... and so are the season's petition challenges!
In the state House race to represent District 24, the campaign of challenger Ed Gainey this morning trumpeted a legal challenge to the nominating petitions filed by longtime incumbent Joe Preston. Gainey supporters have asked Commonwealth Court to disqualify Preston, and in this morning's statement, the Gainey campaign accuses Preston's camp of forging signatures.
"The [petition] objections allege two pages of signatures that are comprised entirely of signatures that are blatant forgeries," the press release states. "Submitting forged signatures displays a blatant disrespect to the voters in the district."
Were signatures forged? The court will have to decide, but you can come to your own conclusions: Here are four pages of contested signatures provided by Gainey's campaign. Judge for yourself.
In addition to the forgery allegations, Gainey's campaign says Preston's petitions include "numerous signatures of individuals who were not registered to vote, who are not registered Democratic voters, who live outside of the district, or who provided incorrect information."
It's little surprise the gloves are coming off in this race between the two Democrats. Preston, who has served in the state House since 1983, has fended off two previous Gainey campaigns. Gainey, chair of the city's Democratic committee and a community development aide to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, almost bested Preston in 2006, losing by just 1.3 percentage points. Two years before Gainey's challenge to Preston ended prematurely when he was booted from the ballot. The reason? A problem with paperwork.