Shawn Dillon missed just one of several steps required to be a candidate in the May 17 special election for a state Senate seat in Northeast Philly.
That killed his campaign Monday.
Dillon, Democratic leader of Ward 66A, withdrew from the race after Republicans challenged his candidacy in court Friday. He and the other ward leaders in the 5th District selected his younger brother, Jimmy Dillon, as a replacement in a weekend meeting.
The question now: Will Republicans try to knock the new Dillon off the ballot?
The deadline for nominations in the special election was March 28. Parties had until 5 p.m. Monday to replace candidates. The deadline to challenge a replacement candidate is 5 p.m. Thursday.
“I see this as the political machine playing games,” said Oropeza, a former mixed martial arts fighter who now works in real estate. “They don’t follow the rules so now they get to change the rules.”
Shawn Dillon’s candidacy was upended because he did not file a statement of financial interests with the State Ethics Commission.
Bob Brady, chair of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, said Dillon’s paperwork was given to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which passed it along to Jason Henry, executive director of the state Democratic Party, to file in Harrisburg.
“They dropped the ball on this completely,” Brady said. “That guy should resign.”
Henry and Melanie Rose, executive director of the SDCC, did not respond to requests for comment.
Jimmy Dillon, a grant compliance monitor for the Philadelphia School District, did not respond to a request for comment Monday. He was a point guard on the University of Notre Dame basketball team from 1996 to 2000 and now also runs a basketball training academy.
Brady said he is a popular coach, well-known in the district, and the Republicans may come to regret their challenge for his brother.
“They may have made a major mistake here,” Brady said. “Even Shawn said his brother would be a better candidate.”
Democrats have a 2-1 voter registration advantage in the district but former President Donald Trump won in 2020 two of the wards, the 58th and 66th, that make up much of the district.
The 5th District seat is vacant because former State Sen. John Sabatina Jr. resigned in January when he was sworn in as a Common Pleas judge. Sabatina, a Democrat, was first elected in a 2015 special election and won a second full term with no Republican challenger in 2020.
The special election winner will finish that term, which runs through 2024.
Clout provides often irreverent news and analysis about people, power, and politics.