At one point this month, it looked like there might be two siblings from the powerful Blackwell political brand running this year to unseat state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown in the 190th District. Today, it becomes possible that there will be no Blackwells on the ballot for the May 18 Democratic primary election. Four voters in the district, which covers parts of West Philadelphia and Fairmount Park, challenged Audrey Blackwell Watson's nominating petitions in Commonwealth Court today.
The voters claim that there are many problems with signatures submitted by Watson, daughter of the late U.S. Rep. Lucien Blackwell. She filed 414 signatures, needing 300 valid names to get on the list. The challenge, filed by attorney Kevin Greenberg, says there are only 99 valid signatures. The challenge also noted problems with the information on the financial disclosure form Watson filed to run for office. Greenberg is finance chairman for Sharif Street, the son of former Mayor John Street. Sharif Street is also running against Brown in the 190th.
Tommy Blackwell, Lucien Blackwell's son, held the seat until Brown knocked him off the primary ballot in 2008 with a court challenge of his nominating petitions. Blackwell, who now has a job working for U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, had vowed to run again this year. But he did not file nominating petitions by last Tuesday's deadline. City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, stepmother to Tommy and Audrey, is backing Sharif Street in his run against Brown.