Third-party hopefuls abandon bids for Pa. governor

By Peter Jackson
Associated Press

HARRISBURG – The possibility of a third-party candidate crashing the gubernatorial race between Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf faded away Friday as two such hopefuls conceded they lacked enough voter support.

Green Party nominee Paul Glover and Ken Krawchuk of the Libertarian Party said their campaigns fell short of the nearly 17,000 petition signatures needed by Friday’s deadline to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.

Glover, a community economic development consultant from Philadelphia, blamed his failed bid on the large number of signatures required, his campaign’s low public profile and a lack of more cash to pay signature gatherers.

“If we’d had enough money earlier, we’d have been able to (get) them on the street earlier,” he said.

Krawchuk said third-party candidates actually must collect many more than the minimum number of signatures as insurance against petition challenges.

The required number of signatures is 2 percent of the ballots cast for the top vote-getter in the previous election – a calculation that the courts upheld.

“We’re being discriminated against,” said Krawchuk, an information technology consultant from Abington who garnered 1 percent of the votes in the 1998 and 2002 gubernatorial elections.

The fact the courts have upheld the minimum-signature requirement “does not make it right,” Krawchuk said.

Statewide major-party candidates are required to gather only 2,000 signatures, but they then often must compete in the primary election for the nomination.

The Green and Libertarian parties are challenging the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s ballot-access requirements in federal court in Philadelphia.

Paul Rossi, the lawyer representing both parties in the case, said the lawsuit filed in June is designed to mount a “full frontal attack” on requirements that the plaintiffs believe are unconstitutional.

What do you think?