IS STEPHANIE SINGER'S campaign cooked or what?
Depends on who you ask, naturally.
"It ain't over yet," Singer's lawyer, Charles Goodwin, said yesterday. "The last dog has not died."
"She lost," said Richard Hoy, the opposing lawyer. "I cannot understand how you can lose something and think you won."
For readers who are just tuning in, here's the election drama that has played out over an entire week - an 87-hour blood feud - inside a makeshift courtroom, where temperatures and tempers steadily rose, at the County Board of Elections on Delaware Avenue:
Singer is an incumbent trying to retain her seat on the three-member board of City Commissioners. The board runs elections and handles voter registration. Singer filed about 1,500 signatures on a petition to get her name on the ballot for the May 19 primary. The required minimum is 1,000.
Three registered Democrats, represented by Hoy and more than likely aligned with commissioner candidate Lisa Deeley, challenged the validity of 1,125 of Singer's signatures in court. Heck, they even challenged Singer's own signature and that of her Aunt Lil.
"Basically they coldcocked us on a lot of things," Goodwin said.
Shortly after midnight yesterday, between signatures successfully challenged by Hoy and his team, which included Deeley campaign manager Nicholas Custodio, and those withdrawn by Singer herself because of errors, the number hung at 996 - just four below the required 1,000. Everyone was tired.
"By midnight, I think the judge had had enough of all of us," Goodwin said.
"I was running on fumes," Hoy said.
At that point, Common Pleas Judge Joel Johnson could have entered an order to remove Singer from the ballot. But he gave Goodwin until Monday to file motions in "reconsideration" of some of the signatures that the judge struck.
"They can file whatever motions they want, but she has lost," Hoy said yesterday afternoon.
"I fully expect we will prevail," Goodwin said.
Singer herself declared in a press release: "I won't go into the blow by blow of what happened when my Aunt Lil came to the courthouse to demand her signature be counted, but I think our opponents now know that it's really not smart to anger strong-willed women like Lil! And of course, her signature will be counted."