When Democrat Frederick Ramirez ran for the Pennsylvania House in a special election last year, he was removed from the ballot when a judge found that he didn't live in the 197th District, as he claimed. One reason: He didn't flush his toilet enough.
That didn't scare him from politics, however.
Ramirez, CEO of Pan-American Mental Health Services, has filed paperwork to run for the same seat in 2018.
A piece of evidence used in the 2017 case was that Ramirez had only been billed for using 95 gallons of water from March to January — the amount of H2O needed to flush a toilet less than twice a month.
Linda Kerns, the then-attorney for the city Republican Party who filed the complaint against Ramirez last year, called him "a candidate who cavalierly dismisses the law of this commonwealth to the detriment of the voters in order to advance his own interests."
Gregory Harvey, a Democratic elections lawyer representing Ramirez, said on Thursday that his client last year "relied upon a lawyer provided to him by the Democratic City Committee, which means he did not receive competent representation."
He added, "Dr. Ramirez not only lives in the 197th Legislative District, but he also provides desperately needed mental health services to that community. We anticipate no difficulty in establishing conclusively that his legal domicile is in the district."
Adam Bonin, Ramirez's former attorney, said he "worked aggressively with Dr. Ramirez to defend him." He said he represented Ramirez on behalf of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, not the City Committee.
"Like Dr. Ramirez, I was deeply disappointed" by the judge's decision, said Bonin, whose clients have included Democratic candidates for Congress and governor.
Ramirez listed as his address this time the same Hunting Park home where he allegedly didn't live last year. Though he owns the property, Ramirez has acknowledged that he has spent three or four days a week elsewhere, at his girlfriend's apartment in Bucks County as well as at a Roxborough apartment to spend time with his daughter.
The ruling against Ramirez in 2017 left the city's Democratic Party in an embarrassing position: No Democrat ended up being on the ballot in the special election to replace Democratic State Rep. Leslie Acosta, who resigned months after pleading guilty to a federal felony charge, even though 85 percent of voters in the district are registered Democrats.
Despite that obstacle, a Democrat won the race: State Rep. Emilio Vazquez. He is running for reelection. Another candidate, former City Council aide Danilo Burgos, also is trying to unseat him.