Nate Kleinman, an Occupy Philly member, this morning dropped his bid to get his name on the April 24 Democratic primary election ballot to challenge U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz for the 13th District seat. Facing a legal challenge to his nominating petitions, Kleinman decided to try a run for the seat with a write-in effort.
Kleinman unsuccessfully tried to play a narrow legal game in a hearing this morning, denying that he had been properly served with the legal papers filed by four of Schwartz's political supporters. Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Rochelle Friedman was not swayed, telling Kleinman she thought he "did everything possible to avoid being personally served."
Hearing that, Kleinman asked to withdrawn his nominating petitions and told Freidman he would run as a write-in candidate.
Abbe Fletman, an attorney for the Schwartz supporters, testified that Kleinman told her his "legal advisors told him he should not participate in the process." Kleinman later confirmed that in testimony, while insisting that he had not been personally served with the documents. He testified that that a courier last month handed the documents to his deputy campaign manager at the door to his home while he stood in the living room.
Fletman, who has petitioned for Kleinman to be sanctioned for his legal maneuvers, asked Friedman to consider making him pay for the fees and costs of the proceedings. Friedman agreed to consider that.
Kleinman said after the hearing that it "makes no sense" to waste time in a legal challenge when Schwartz has $2.3 million in her campaign account and he has a small fraction of that.
"My name is not that difficult to spell," Kleinman said of the write-in effort he will now launch. "It seems like the Occupy way to go anyway."
Things turned a bit testy and then childish outside the courtroom, when one Kleinman supporter hectored Fletman and Neil Deegan, Schwartz's political director, about the case. Another Kleinman supporter fiddled with the elevator buttons, causing the the doors to repeatedly open as Fletman and Deegan tried to depart.