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Politics & Government

Petitions Challenge Of Corbett’s Only Primary Opponent Ongoing

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s only primary opponent has faced a second day in court over a challenge to get him thrown off the ballot.

GOP-backed voters say Bob Guzzardi, a Montgomery County activist and lawyer, should not be a candidate in the May 20 primary because he failed to file a statement of financial interest on time to the State Ethics Commission.

Lawyer Lawrence Tabas quotes the state Ethics Act in calling the oversight a “fatal defect.”

“It’s obvious I made a mistake,” Guzzardi testified in Commonwealth Court Wednesday. He filed the form with the Department of State on time, and a little over a week later filed it with the Ethics Commission. Assistants to his campaign testified that they were going off incorrect advice from an employee of the Department of State.

Guzzardi’s nominating petitions are also being contested. J. Wright Leonard, a handwriting expert was called in to scrutinize petitions filled out without strict adherence to the rules – at one point she noted “monumental difference” between two letter Bs that should have been written by the same person.

But both Guzzardi and the lawyer arguing to have him tossed from the race say the more significant challenge is over his failure to file a statement of financial interest on time.

“Has nothing to do with amendments and contents,” said Tabas said leaving the courthouse. “You don’t file, you’re out.”

More testimony is expected Thursday.