It's been almost a year since Cliff Wilson survived an attempted intra-party coup and retained his post as chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Party.

He was narrowly elected to a fourth term in last June's election, but an appeal filed by his challenger, Bruce Bikin, has finally seen the light of day.

State Democratic leaders are scheduled to meet in Harrisburg next month to hear arguments from both sides and decide if Wilson is the rightful chair of the county party.

The hearing was announced this week in a letter from T.J. Rooney, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, to Bikin and Wilson.

"There were so many procedural missteps they made in running the election that I think there's a fair chance they'll have a re-vote," said Bikin, a Philadelphia attorney who chairs the Radnor Democratic Committee.

Bikin ran for the county seat on a platform of strengthening the party's dismal fundraising operation and recruiting new volunteers and candidates.

With the backing of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, Wilson defeated Bikin by between two and four votes - depending on whether two late ballots are counted. Wilson works for Brady, providing constituent service in Delaware County.

Bikin said he has affidavits from two committee members who were barred from voting for chairman. He also claims at least one ballot not clearly marked was tallied for Wilson.

Wilson said the appeal is baseless, and, "frankly, it's rather late" to be challenging the year-old results." *