As political mile markers go, Tuesday marks a noteworthy post on Philadelphia’s political-season calendar for candidates in the mayoral, council, judicial and other primary races.
Yep, it’s deadline day for candidates to file nomination petitions with the County Board of Elections office at City Hall.
Candidates for citywide office must submit petitions with 1,000 valid signatures by 5 p.m. or their dreams of running are dashed.
Elections Supervisor Tim Dowling tells NewsWorks/NinetyNine’s Katie Colaneri that two tables will be set up outside the office where workers will check that the submissions meet that threshold (via cursory glance for total signature tally, notary and page-numbering).
They’ll stop checking once they see 20 petition pages with 50 signatures each, leaving the candidates to file their filing fee, statement of financial interest and candidates affidavit.
If all that’s not in line by 5 p.m., the person is not running. Not this year, anyway.
Starting Wednesday, the campaigns can request copies of opponents’ petitions to peruse and, if they see fit, file challenges should they perceive any shenanigans thereon. The deadline for challenges is next Tuesday (March 17).
Where it all stands
As of Monday afternoon, 22 candidates across all races had filed.
In the mayoral race, Lynne Abraham, Nelson Diaz, Jim Kenney and Tony Williams have submitted on the Democrat side while Melissa Murray Bailey was in for the GOP. (Aspiring Republican candidate Elmer Money told NinetyNine on Monday that he’s out of the race because he couldn’t reach the signature threshold.)
While candidates only need 1,000 valid signatures, this deadline can trigger a bit of a preening contest.
Before Williams filed on Friday, a campaign press release noted that, “The Williams campaign has spent the past three weeks in every neighborhood talking to voters who are excited about Senator Williams, resulting in securing signatures from 10,000 people who support his candidacy and represent all 66 wards in the city.
“Petition circulators included Philadelphians from every walk of life: millennials to seniors, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic citizens and people across the economic spectrum.”
Not to be outdone, the Kenney campaign showed up Monday claiming it had rounded up 70 more signatures than that. Stated campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt, “We are humbled by the number of Philadelphians who volunteered their time to put Jim Kenney on the ballot.
“Since launching the campaign just one month ago, Jim has received overwhelming support from Philadelphians of every walk of life, and we look forwarding to working with them to elect a mayor that will strengthen every neighborhood.”
Because fair is fair, I’ve reached out to the Abraham and Diaz campaigns to see whether they want to join this flexing contest and fling about some signature numbers.
Diaz spokesman Barry Caro already got back to NinetyNine. He said the first batch of 3,500 signatures was submitted Monday morning with another collection to follow today.
I’ll be hanging out at the Board of Elections to capture today’s scene.