An independent candidate for mayor prevailed Wednesday in a legal challenge to get him off the ballot, while for another independent candidate, this one for City Council, the fight to remain on the ballot has just started.
Jim Foster, publisher of the Independent Voice in Northwest Philadelphia, will remain an independent candidate for mayor after a review of his nomination petition indicated he had at least the 1,325 valid signatures required to be listed on the Nov. 3 ballot.
On Monday, Matt Wolfe, Republican leader of the 27th Ward, challenged Foster's petition, in part, Wolfe said, because the petitions had technical problems - at least one dead person listed as signing, and someone who claimed to be registered to vote at 666 Satan Lane.
On Wednesday, Wolfe and Foster's attorney, Larry Otter, said a joint line-by-line review of the petitions prompted Wolfe to drop the case.
"We concluded that the challenge was likely enough to fail that we agreed to withdraw it," said Wolfe, who made the challenge on behalf of a judge of elections in his ward.
Meanwhile, Andrew Stober, independent candidate for Council at-large, had his nomination petitions challenged Monday by Linda Kerns, associate general counsel for the Republican City Committee. That challenge was filed in the name of Daphne Goggins, the Republican leader of the 16th Ward.
Stober, who served as chief of staff in Mayor Nutter's Office of Transportation and Utilities, had 2,078 signatures on his petitions. He also needs at least 1,325.
Kerns, in the challenge, claims that there are technical problems with 1,178 of Stober's signatures, along with the information listed for four people who circulated his petitions.
Adam Bonin, Stober's attorney, said both sides started consulting Wednesday in a line-by-line review of the contested signatures that will continue until Friday. A hearing is expected Monday.
"This challenge is bogus," Bonin said. "It's an effort to slow down Andrew's momentum and to try to defend the Republican Party's access to two slots on City Council, to which they're not entitled."
City Council has 17 members, 10 of whom represent districts and seven who represent the entire city. Of the seven, the City Charter sets aside two seats for members of a minority political party.
Those seats have been held for years by Republicans, who are outnumbered, 7-1, by Democrats. Independent or third-party candidates are eligible to win those seats in the general election, however.
Kristen Combs, a science teacher at Penn Treaty School, is running as a Green Party candidate for a Council at-large seat. Combs on Wednesday announced that her candidacy was unchallenged, meaning she will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.