Jay Paterno ends bid for lieutenant governor

Jay Paterno has high name recognition — which could be good or bad. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jay Paterno, son of the late longtime head coach, said Friday afternoon he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

Paterno, who shook up the race on the strength of his name alone, acknowledged that a legal challenge to his nominating petitions was likely to knock him off the ballot or at least tie him up in court.

"In talking with attorneys, it has become clear that the ballot challenge could be a long process with potential decisions and appeals carrying beyond Monday's hearing," Paterno said in a statement. "With less than two months remaining before the primary, I do not want an ongoing legal back-and-forth to be a distraction in this race. The outcome of this election is too important for the future of the working families and all the people of this commonwealth."

At issue in the challenge was the validity of signatures on his petition.

His withdrawal leaves Harrisburg Councilman Brad Koplinski, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith, former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, State Rep. Brandon Neuman, and State Sen. Mike Stack vying for the Democratic nomination.