Challenge to independent mayoral candidate’s nominating petitions dropped

 James Foster will appear on the Nov. mayoral ballot as an independent candidate. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

James Foster will appear on the Nov. mayoral ballot as an independent candidate. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Remember Tuesday’s story about a petition challenge being filed against independent mayoral candidate James Foster’s nominating-petition signatures and circulators? Well, the challenge was dropped on Wednesday.

Matthew Wolfe — an attorney who ran for a Republican City Council at-large seat in May’s primary election — told NinetyNine that he agreed to withdraw the challenge after meeting with Foster’s attorney Larry Otter at the county Board of Elections office on Spring Garden St. near Delaware Ave.

Wolfe still maintained that there were some “fraudulent signatures” included in the 3,662 collected by Foster’s team, but experience told him that “it’d be very surprising” if he could find enough to knock the mayoral candidate off the ballot.

For that to have happened, Foster’s total would have had to drop below the 1,325-signature threshold.

“They would have to win 98 percent of their challenges to prevail,” Otter said. “I’ve never seen anybody that good, including me.”

Foster was one of three candidates who filed petitions last week with the Board of Elections to join a field occupied by Jim Kenney (D) and Melissa Murray Bailey (R).

Wolfe said he planned to file the discontinuance of action later Wednesday afternoon.

For his part, Foster was ready to move on.

“This means I’m on the ballot,” Foster said. “I was relieved that the Republican Party made a decision not to pursue a challenge that I thought was not well-founded to being with.

“I want to thank the folks from both the Republican and Democratic parties who were willing to support me in signature gathering and gathering the petitions. … I intend to visit every neighborhood in the city, starting immediately, with street-corner conversations where I can make my case.”

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