Challenge filed against independent mayoral candidate’s nominating petitions

 James Foster delivered his nominating petitions to the county Board of Elections office last week. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

James Foster delivered his nominating petitions to the county Board of Elections office last week. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

Independent mayoral candidate James Foster faces a petition challenge that was filed just before Monday’s deadline by an attorney who ran for a Republican City Council at-large seat in May’s primary election.

Matthew Wolfe, an attorney who finished sixth in the seven-candidate field, challenged Foster’s nominating-petition signatures and circulators, according to Foster, who received word from his attorney a few minutes after the 5 p.m. Monday deadline to do so.

Wolfe, the attorney listed on the challenge, said that his support of Bailey’s candidacy outweighed his personal friendship with Foster.

According to Wolfe, a team with the city GOP and Bailey campaign went to the commissioners office and found a “hodgepodge” of problems with 2,552 signatures and circulators.

“I’ve known him for quite a few years so, coming from him personally, I was a bit surprised,” the publisher of a community newspaper in Germantown told NinetyNine.

“There may be a certain about of vendetta in there because some Republicans have told me recently that I’m too tough on them,” he continued. “If they’d been doing their job, there wouldn’t be a need for independent candidates.”

Foster, one of three candidates who sought last week to join a field occupied by Jim Kenney (D) and Melissa Murray Bailey (R), claimed he received 3,662 signatures. That number was reduced a bit after a county Board of Elections review, he said, but remained well above the 1,325-signature threshold.

According to Foster, the petition-challenge hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Other candidates facing petition challenges filed with the Board of Elections office are Glenn C. Davis (city commissioner, Green Party), Andrew Stober (Council at-large, Philadelphia party and Leah Wright (5th District Council, Free Dominion Political Party).

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a comment from Wolfe and petition-signature totals.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.