Government
5:40 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Critz Campaign Challenges Validity of Altmire’s Petition Signatures

The campaign for Congressman Mark Critz has filed objections to Congressman Jason Altmire's nominating petition, challenging the validity of more than half of the signatures on the petition that would place him in the April Democratic Primary. A spokesman for Critz said there are numerous irregularities found on the petition, including 385 signatures they said came from a circulator from outside the congressional district, which goes against state law.

"We believe there were significant numbers forged, in addition to a number of technical errors in them, that we believe amounts to 942 invalid signatures, leaving him far below the 1,000 necessary to appear on the ballot," said Mike Mikus.

The campaign has filed objections with the state Commonwealth Court, which is expected to set a hearing date soon.

"Given the time constraints required under law to mail out absentee ballots, 45 days prior to the election to military and overseas individuals. This should be a fast moving process. We don't have any dates yet, but we expect it to move very quickly," said Mikus.

Critz and Altmire are pitted against one another in a district drawn by Republicans after the 2010 census. One of the state's congressional districts was cut, which is how Altmire ended up running against Critz for the Democratic nomination. The new seat includes parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Cambria, Lawrence, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties.

A spokeswoman for Altmire's campaign has not responded to a call on the complaint but issued a statement saying that officials are confident Congressman Altmire will be on the ballot.