Judge keeps Honkala off special election ballot

Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala says she will run as a write-in candidate for the state House’s 197th District in North Philadelphia.

Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala says she has strong name recognition in the state House’s 197th District in North Philadelphia.

She’s going to need it now that a Commonwealth Court judge has rejected her effort to force her name onto the March 21 special election ballot for the open seat.

Honkala has vowed to run a write-in campaign if she can’t get on the ballot.

Senior Judge J. Wesley Oler Jr. on Wednesday ruled that verbal “miscommunication” between the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Green Party about the deadline to file nomination paperwork was not enough to alter the ballot.

Honkala’s paperwork was filed Jan. 31, one day after the state deadline.

Oler noted that accurate information about the deadline was available online, in a mailing sent to the Green Party, and through the state’s Election Code.

Honkala’s attorney, Samuel Stretton, said he would appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Another Commonwealth Court judge is still considering a challenge to the candidacy of Frederick Ramirez, the Democratic nominee in the special election.

Four challengers claimed that low levels of water and electricity usage in Ramirez’s Philadelphia home show he did not really live there.

But customer service supervisors from the Philadelphia Water Department and Peco testified last week that they could not discern from the levels if the house was occupied.

That case was investigated by the deputy director of the Philadelphia Republican City Committee, who testified that she was working to help her party’s nominee in the special election, Lucinda Little.

Former State Rep. Leslie Acosta, a Democrat, resigned from the 197th District seat on Jan. 3 after pleading guilty to a felony embezzlement charge in federal court in March 2016.