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Monday, September 25, 2006
Posted 10:04 PM by

Pa. Green Party candidate thrown off ballot

Carl Romanelli, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, was thrown off the ballot after the company he hired to gather signatures for his nominating petitions faked more than one-third of them.I should be upset that a state judge today threw a third party candidate off Pennsylvania's statewide Nov. 7 ballot for U.S. Senate.

I should be angry that Pennsylvanians will only get to choose which of two anti-abortion candidates we should send to Congress.

I should even be outraged that Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli lost his chance to be a serious contender - and to offer his ideas in public debates - because of complaints from Democratic lawyers.

But I'm not.

This race lost any potential ideological significance the day Romanelli accepted help from incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and the financial backing of prominent GOP members.

They weren't supporting Romanelli because they believed in either him or what he stands for.

They wanted a third wheel, preferably one with a pro-choice stance, to siphon votes away from Democratic candidate Bob Casey Jr.

They didn't get it.

Romanelli used his Republican money to hire a questionable Florida firm to gather nominating petition signatures for him. But of the 94,000 signatures the company gathered, more than one-third were disallowed because they were fake names, unregistered voters or illegible signatures.

In the end, Romanelli fell 8,931 signatures shy of the 67,070 he needed under state law to qualify as a minor-party candidate.

Gee, I didn't know voter fraud was part of the Green Party platform?

The Pennsylvania Green Party should change its name to the Greenmail Party if it's willing to accept money from Republicans who don't believe in its platform just so their third party candidates can be spoilers.The party's state Web site claims, "The Democratic and Republican Parties have increasingly become parties driven by big money, not by the grassroots. The values that once inspired these parties are long gone, and the parties offer little in terms of networking and issue leadership to their local elected officials."

But by making a deal with the devil and taking a shortcuts to traditional grassroots fundraising and politics, Romanelli has succeeded only in embarrassing himself and his party while setting back the cause of election reform.


I won't be surprised if Republican Lynn Swann starts to make some headway against Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

First off, Swann has nowhere to go but up in the polls. Second, he's finally getting decent advice and attacking Rendell where he's weakest - on defending his signing of last year's now-repealed legislative pay raise.

Republican Lynn Swann is deservedly making hay against Gov. Ed Rendell for signing last year's now-repealed legislative pay increase. Of course, Swann's numbers have nowhere to go but up.The two sparred in their first debate tonight, with Swann hammering the incumbent for signing the sneakily passed pay hike by saying, "This governor signed it as quickly as it came in."

Rendell countered by calling Swann "a hypocrite" for politically supporting some of the same lawmakers who were architects of the pay raise.

The governor referred to Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer and Senate Majority Leader David Brightbill, who were among 17 legislators ousted in the May primary election because of voter anger over the pay raises.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Unless Fast Eddie puts a giant foot in his mouth or does something really stupid, he's virtually a shoe-in to win reelection.

Rendell is kind of like a dollar store frying pan, whose thin teflon coating comes off after a single washing. His feet deserve to be put to the flame over both the pay raise and the state law legalizing slot machines.

But Swann has said advocating the repeal of the slots law would be "a waste of my time and energy."

For his lack of vision, and Rendell's blind eye to Harrisburg shennanigans, I'm supporting neither candidate for governor.


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