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Opponent Challenging Jay Paterno's Nominating Petitions in Race for Lt. Governor

by on March 15, 2014 7:05 AM

Jay Paterno, who recently announced he's running for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, is under attack from one of his opponents in the Democratic Party primary election.

Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski plans to challenge the nominating petitions filed by Paterno's campaign and has hired an attorney to take the issue to court.

To get on the ballot, candidates are required to submit at least 1,000 signatures from registered voters. The petitions must include 100 signatures from five different counties.

Koplinski's attorney, Larry Otter, says Paterno only submitted 1,200 signatures and that many of them are invalid. "Upon reviewing some of the petitions, they were terrible in a word," says Otter.

Otter says it won't be hard to knock Paterno off the ballot, "There are typical problems," he says. He [Paterno] got a lot of signatures from people who are not registered voters and from registered Republicans. You're only allowed Democratic signatures to be valid."

According to Otter, Paterno has a huge problem in one Central Pennsylvania county. Otter claims that half of the signatures Paterno obtained in that county were not from the county he was in. Otter wasn't able to say for sure which county he was citing because he didn't have the case file in front of him.

For his part, Paterno is confident his petitions are in order. In a prepared statement Paterno says, "I oversaw the petition gathering effort. A member of my family, a volunteer or myself gathered each one of these signatures."

Paterno, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, has never run for political office before. In his statement Paterno also says, "The people of this Commonwealth are tired of politics as usual and we look forward to discussing the real issues that matter to working families here in Pennsylvania. Voters in the Commonwealth should be the ones to select the party's nominee for Lt. Governor."

The case will apparently be going before a judge. Otter says he'll be filing the matter in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, probably on Monday.

"It's nothing personal," he says. "It's business. You got to play by the rules to get on the ballot and he came up short."

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Steve Bauer is Managing Editor & Chief Content Officer at StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy. You can e-mail Steve at Steve.Bauer@StateCollege.com and you can follow him on Twitter @SteveBauerSCcom
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