District Attorney Jim Martin Can Run in 2011 Elections After Judge Throws Out Petition Challenge
Ballot challenge dismissed because challenger isn't a member of the same political party.
A Lehigh County judge Friday quashed a challenge to District Attorney Jim Martin's re-election bid. Lower Macungie resident Robert Sharpe, claimed Martin’s use of his secretary to notarize election petition documents goes against state notary code.
Sharpe is running for Lower Macungie Commissioner.
Judge Carol McGinley agreed with Martin's attorney, Patrick Reilly who pointed to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a challenge can only be brought by a person in the same party.
“Pennsylvania has a closed party system, and a member of the opposing party can’t issue a challenge,” said Reilly. “Mr. Sharpe can’t vote in the election.”
Sharpe is a Democrat and Martin is running as a Republican.
In a prepared press release handed to reporters after McGinley's decision, Sharpe called the Supreme Court ruling “inconsistent with the state’s Election Code, which does not contain such a requirement.”
Both inside the courtroom and on paper, Sharpe had harsh words for the ruling. “The 1996 [PA Supreme Court Decision] has spawned a ‘straw party’ movement in which a single voter of a political party is recruited by opponents of that party to challenge a candidate’s petition.”