Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins will remain on the Pennsylvania ballot, but his running mate Angela Walker must be removed, a state judge ruled late Wednesday.
Commonwealth Court Judge J. Andrew Crompton delivered that split verdict in a legal challenge with close connections to the state Democratic Party.
The challenge focused on problems with paperwork.
The Green Party on Aug. 3 filed nominating petitions for two candidates from Pennsylvania — Elizabeth Faye Scroggin for president and Neal Taylor Gale for vice president — but swapped them out a week later for Hawkins, a retired Teamster from New York, and Walker, a labor activist who drives a dump truck in South Carolina.
The party didn’t file a candidate affidavit for Gale as required by state law. Scroggin faxed her affidavit to the Pennsylvania Department of State by the deadline, but there was a delay in printing it.
Larry Otter, an attorney for the Green Party, said the Democratic players in the legal case filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court on Thursday.
Andrea Merida, a Hawkins campaign spokesperson, said it’s “clear that the Democrats are not interested in stating their case to the voters; instead they engage in party suppression, which is voter suppression, to get an edge.”
The challenge was filed by Pittsburgh attorney Clifford Levine, who has done legal work for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Levine’s clients are Paul Stefano, chair of the Lawrence County Democratic Party, and Tony Thomas, who ran as a Democrat for City Council in Wilkes-Barre last year.
Asked if the state Democratic Party was backing the challenge, Levine this week said “They’re aware of it." The state Democratic Party did not respond to requests for comment.
The challenge, filed last month, comes at a time when President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are competing for a shrinking pool of undecided voters. The Green Party, with about 27,000 registered voters in the state, makes up 0.3% of the electorate.
An average of polling compiled by Real Clear Politics gives Biden a 4.3% lead in Pennsylvania as of Wednesday, but that is within the margin of error for some polling
Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, won almost 50,000 votes that year, or 0.8% of the ballots cast. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the state by about 44,000 votes, a margin of 0.7%.