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Fight over Democratic committeeman spots to resume in South Philadelphia

A slate of committeeman candidates allied with longtime Democratic ward leader Anna C. Verna will face petition challenges organized by developer Ori Feibush.

A  fight over Democratic leadership of South Philadelphia's 36th ward is on again. A Commonwealth Court judge issued a ruling Tuesday reinstating petition challenges against 27 candidates for Democratic committeeman,  generally allied with longtime ward leader Anna C. Verna, the former City Council president.

Developer Ori Feibush had organized the challenges, claiming the neighborhoods would benefit from new, more independent leadership.

Common Pleas Court Judge Charles J. Cunningham initially threw out 37 challenges on technical grounds ­– 27 because copies of the relevant voter signature petitions had not been attached to the legal paperwork, 10 others because of late notice to the candidates.

Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohen Jubelirer ruled Tuesday that the 27 challenges without attachments met the requirements of state law, so those petitions go back to Cunningham for a more detailed, line-by-line review. She upheld dismissal of the other 10 challenges, so those candidates will appear on primary election ballots.

Democratic and Republican voters in each of the city's 1,686 voting divisions will elect up to two committee persons from each party in the May 20 primary election.  The elected committeemen meet later to choose ward leaders, and in June the ward leaders will convene to choose party officers for the entire city.

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