Milton Street campaign for Philly mayor survives first legal challenge

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 Former State Senator Milton Street participates in the first forum of democratic mayoral candidates. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Former State Senator Milton Street participates in the first forum of democratic mayoral candidates. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia mayoral candidate T. Milton Street Sr. has survived a court challenge over his voter registration, but he’s not out of the woods yet.

A judge has ruled that Street did not have to be registered as a Democrat when he submitted nominating petitions to run in the May primary.

A challenge brought by the head of the Philadelphia Transport Workers Union Local 234 alleged that Street broke state law when he signed an affidavit declaring his status as a registered Democrat when he was actually registered independent since 2012.

Street has said he changed it back to Democrat in early 2013, although he wasn’t able to prove that in court. 

Attorney Kevin Greenberg, representing union leader Joseph Coccio Jr., argued that Street once again became a registered Democrat on March 13, 2015, three days after the  deadline to file nominating petitions with the Philadelphia County Board of Elections. 

“There is nothing that changes the fact that the affidavit was false when it was signed,” Greenberg said.

However, Street, who represented himself in court, did convince Common Pleas Judge Chris Wogan that he did not have to be registered Democrat until at least 30 days before the primary.

“There is no case law that I’ve been able to find that says you have to be a registered Democrat or a Republican at the time you sign your petitions,” Street told reporters during a recess.

Judge Wogan ruled that while Street was “beyond negligent,” he did not intend to deceive Philadelphia voters and did not have grounds to reject his petitions. 

Street remains on the ballot for now. The judge has yet to decide on a second challenge about whether or not Street actually lives in Philadelphia.

Court challenges against Third District Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and City Commissioner Stephanie Singer will continue on Monday.

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