Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

State Rep. Tony Payton off the April 24 primary ballot

State Rep. Tony Payton withdrew from the April 24 Democratic primary election this evening after a two-day Commonwealth Court hearing made clear that he did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions to remain on the ballot. Payton submitted 1,854 signatures in his bid for a fourth two-year term representing the 179th District but a line-by-line examination of those names, with the help of a hand-writing analyst, resulted in many being disqualified.

State Rep. Tony Payton off the April 24 primary ballot

State Rep. Tony Payton withdrew from the April 24 Democratic primary election this evening after a two-day Commonwealth Court hearing made clear that he did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions to remain on the ballot.  Payton submitted 1,854 signatures in his bid for a fourth two-year term representing the 179th District but a line-by-line examination of those names, with the help of a hand-writing analyst, resulted in many being disqualified.

The legal challenge against Payton was filed by Doris Robinson, a Democratic committeewoman in the 23rd Ward.  Payton said the challenge was spurred by her ward leader, former City Councilman Dan Savage, who lost his City Hall post to Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez in 2007 and lost a bid to retake the Council seat from her last year.  Payton said the challenge was payback for his refusing to support Savage over Sanchez.

Savage denied that while calling it a "disgrace" that Payton could not follow the state election code to collect at least 300 valid signatures on his petitions, the number needed to stay on the ballot.  Savage said he was supporting James Clay Jr. in his bid to challenge Payton in the primary. 

With no declared Republican candidate, Clay will win the seat automatically this year unless a third-party candidate emerges in the November general election.  Payton will serve until the end of the legislative session in November.

Payton said a variety of problems brought down his petition signatures, including people who were not registered as Democrats, women who used their maiden names and people who didn't fill out the form correctly.

"I went to several churches," Payton said. "It turns out, a lot of people at church aren't registered or are registered Republican or with no affiliation."

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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