John D. McGinnis, Republican state representative of the 79th District, is currently awaiting the Commonwealth Court’s ruling on the objection filed by Altoona resident Wendy Griswold against new Republican candidate and former police chief of Altoona, Pete Starr.
In order to run as a Republican candidate for state representative of Pennsylvania, candidates must circulate a double-sided petition through the district. This 30-line petition must receive a minimum of 300 signatures from registered Republican voters who reside in the 79th District.
The state had initially rejected Pete Starr’s petition on February 16th because the petition had not been filed correctly. Starr’s petition only contained 16 lines of signatures, found only on the front side of the double-sided 30-line document, causing the petition to lack the required 300 minimum signatures. Three days later, on February 19th, Starr’s petition had been approved with a total of 382 signatures.
WRTA reached out to both candidates to comment on this issue.
“We’ve found problems with 163 of the 382 signatures gathered by Pete Starr,” said McGinnis. He added, “If 83 or more of these signatures are disallowed, he would be removed from the ballot.” Representative McGinnis claimed that Pete Starr’s petition included signatures from registered Democrats in the district, signatures without an address, signatures with no date listed, and signatures listing the wrong municipality of residence.
Kirk Leidy, Starr’s campaign manager, stated in a phone interview with WRTA that McGinnis’s claims are a “waste of time.” Leidy claims that all of Pete Starr’s petition signatures were approved, and the alleged Democratic signatures were proven false. Leidy said that Sarah Seymour, Director of Elections in Blair County, had provided their campaign with an updated list of registered Republicans in the district, and all signatures were tentatively approved.
The objection hearing with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania is scheduled for March 9th.