Who’s running? It’s filing day

     Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims has backed out of a congressional race, and will run for re-election to the Statehouse. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

    Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims has backed out of a congressional race, and will run for re-election to the Statehouse. (AP photo/Matt Rourke)

    For aspiring candidates in Pennsylvania, Tuesday was put-up or shut-up day — the filing deadline for the April 26 primary — and Donald Trump nearly didn’t make it.

    Trump’s nominating petitions arrived within an hour of the 5 p.m., so he joins the Pennsylvania presidential ballot along with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, John Kasich (who actually came in after Trump), Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente.Yeah, I didn’t know either. De La Fuente is a San Diego businessman who describes himself as a conservative Democrat. Wikipedia says he got 95 votes in New Hampshire, so somebody knows who he is.

    Sims changes course

    More interesting news involved state Rep. Brian Sims.

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    After announcing in October that he would run for Congress against indicted U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Sims has decided not to do so after all. He didn’t file for Congress and put out a statement endorsing state Rep. Dwight Evans in the Democratic primary. That’s a boost for Evans, especially if Sims taps his own supporters to contribute to Evans.

    Two other announced candidates submitted their petitions to challenge Fattah, ward leader and former congressional staffer Dan Muroff of Mt. Airy and Lower Merion Township Commissioner and attorney Brian Gordon.

    Sims had planned to run simultaneously for Congress and his state legislative seat, since that’s the only way he could keep his current gig if the congressional thing didn’t work out.

    That never seemed to me like a workable plan.

    It’s tricky to run for a federal and state office at the same time, because you have to have two campaign committees that raise and spend money under different sets of rules.

    And I think a lot of voters in Sim’s Center City legislative district wouldn’t take kindly to him running for both offices at once.

    But Sims’ plan to run for Congress did attract Democratic challengers for his state House seat, and the three who filed nominating petitions told me they aren’t getting out.

    “I’ve knocked on over 2,000 doors, and I’m absolutely committed to running no matter who’s on the ballot,” said former journalist and state Senate aide Ben Waxman.

    Realtor Lou Lanni said he’s staying in also. “I didn’t arrive at this decision lightly,” he said. “I think we’re poorly led in Harrisburg, and we can do a whole lot better.”

    Attorney Marni Snyder said she was moved to enter the race by her mom’s experiences as a public school teacher in Southwest Philadelphia and her own past work as a public defender. “We were on either end of the school-to-prison pipeline,” she said.

    In his statement Tuesday, Sims promised to “keep working to fix our broken government in Harrisburg.”

    For the hundreds of candidates who’ve filed across the state, now is the time for opponents to scrutinize their nominating petitions in search of enough invalid signatures or petition circulators to disqualify them.

    It happens every year.

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