"What's black and white and read all over?"

Friday, August 11, 2006
Posted 9:19 PM by

Kermit was right: It's not easy being Green

Was it a deal with the devil, a.k.a. Tricky Ricky Santorum, or simply a lack of green that cost the Pennsylvania Green Party's candidates for governor and lieutenant governor spots on the Nov. 7 ballot?

Did poorly spent cash from Republicans cost two Green Party candidates a spot on Pennsylvania's Nov. 7 ballot?Green Party gubernatorial candidate Marakay Rogers and her running mate, Christina Valente, are withdrawing their nominating petitions because they don't have enough money to fight a court challenge brought by Democrats.

Neither candidate has filed a campaign finance report with the state, indicating they've done no fundraising on their own and the Green Party's political action committee only had $976 on June 5.

Yet, Rogers and Valente say they still plan to keep running, despite long odds as write-in candidates.

Rogers said she hopes that a federal appeals court will rule favorably in a lawsuit filed by minor parties seeking to overturn the state's signature requirement for their candidates.

Minor-party and independent candidates for statewide office had to collect an extraordinarily high number of signatures - 67,070 - to qualify this year for the November ballot. It represents 2 percent of the ballots cast for the top vote-getter in the last statewide election. This year's threshold was based on a record 3.4 million votes Casey received when he was elected to his first term as state treasurer in 2004.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Russ Diamond was unable to gather the necessary signatures and withdrew from the race recently.

Rogers and Valente filed their petitions jointly with Carl Romanelli, the Green Party's U.S. Senate candidate. Democrats challenged Romanelli's signatures on Tuesday, in part because they were gathered by a political firm with a questionable past.

The Democrats asked a court to remove all three candidates from the fall ballot, alleging that more than 69,000 of the signatures they collected included fake names, names of unregistered voters and illegible signatures.

Much of the $100,000 Romanelli spent gathering signatures came from Republican donors, who see his candidacy as a way to siphon votes away from the Democratic Senatorial candidate, Bob Casey Jr. Romanelli is pro-choice. Casey and Republican incumbent Rick Santorum are pro-life.

Santorum's staffers even helped gather some of the signatures.

What role did tricky Ricky Santorum, his staffers and fellow Republicans play in helping Pennsylvania's Green Party self-destruct this year?Democratic Party Chairman T.J. Rooney issued a statement Friday urging Romanelli to withdraw from the ballot, saying, "To continue with this charade is a colossal waste of time for the court and does nothing to inspire confidence in voters."

Romanelli isn't backing down, however, and said, "I have confidence in our (signature) submission ... and I still submit we will prevail."
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