Independent fights to get on ballot in congressional race

An independent is fighting for his political life trying to challenge an incumbent Philadelphia congressman.

Jim Foster says he’s upset after being denied the opportunity to run as an independent against Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah. He says another candidate with the party affiliation “independent” filed before he did — and state officials say there can’t be two candidates for the same office with the same affiliation.

Foster says he asked throughout the process if there was anything he needed to know.

“At no time then or later did any of the officials tell me that running as an independent is considered a party and that there is a restriction here under the first come-first served rule,” Foster said Tuesday.

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Pennsylvania Department of State Spokesman Ron Ruman says the election law does not leave room for both candidates.

“What would happen is if that were accepted, then there would be two candidates on the ballot with the same party affiliation listed under it, even though independent could be no party, but that’s not permitted under state law,” Ruman said

A Commonwealth Court hearing is scheduled for Thursday on the matter. Foster says he’s very confident he will win.

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