Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dem Shenanigans in PA Congressional Races

I mentioned two potential spoilers in a post just last Thursday, though there was no inkling as yet Democratic shenanigans were in play. Now it appears Democrats in the 7th Congressional district have been actively helping Jim Schneller gather signatures so his name would appear on the ballot as an independent candidate. Schneller has the sort of background  both the left and the media love to exploit when discussing tea party candidates:
Pennsylvania Democrats helped gather signatures to put a birther on the ballot in the race to replace Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak.

At issue is the role played by the campaign of state Rep. Bryan Lentz, the Democratic nominee in the open 7th District, which allegedly provided petition-gathering assistance to Jim Schneller, a tea party activist who once filed suit against the state of Pennsylvania demanding that President Obama present his birth certificate.

According to documents from the secretary of state's office provided by the campaign of Lentz’s GOP opponent, former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, Schneller needed 4,200 signatures to make the ballot as the American Congress Party candidate — and 3,800 of those were collected by Democrats.
 Just for the record Schneller has not been endorsed by the Independence Tea Party as I pointed out in my previous post.  Politico misreported this fact and has since issued a corrected post with the following correction:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Independence Hall Tea Party group in Philadelphia had endorsed Schneller. They have endorsed Meehan.
 Schneller, who appears not to be the brightest bulb, is having trouble accepting the news:
In some of his first public comments since news broke that Democratic insiders and activists made it possible for him to gain ballot access, Schneller said he didn’t know that some of the people who circulated nominating petitions on his behalf had ties to Democratic nominee Bryan Lentz. He insisted that anyone gathering signatures for his candidacy on the American Congress Party ticket did so because they believe in his candidacy. And while he acknowledged that it’s “feasible” Democrats would help him to tip a close race away from Republican Pat Meehan, he said such tactics would be a mistake.

“I’ve got news for Bryan Lentz’s campaign: These were given to me, in support of me, I filed them, so thank you,” Schneller told “Your opponent is now on the ballot. We now have a three-candidate ticket.
 Wait, it just keeps getting better:

An early look at Schneller’s nominating petitions, which are still being reviewed by iin full, shows that Schneller couldn’t have gathered the required 4,200 signatures without help from Democrats. Schneller himself collected only about 3,200 signatures. Almost all of the remaining 4,800 signatures were gathered by registered Democrats, many of whom have clear ties to Lentz. Many of the Democrats who circulated petitions for Schneller are party insiders and activists who would surely find Schneller’s political beliefs to be distasteful at best. Schneller is a staunch conservative who has dabbled in the so-called “Birther” movement that questions President Obama’s signature.
But in the interview Wednesday, Schneller said he was both “complimented” and “dismayed” by the help he got from Democrats: complimented that they would find appeal in his candidacy, and dismayed that they might not have been genuine in their motivations.
 It is not clear whether Schneller will end up on the ballot at this point. (Via Don Adams of the Independence Tea Party sent a letter to Schneller formally asking him to withdraw his candidacy or at least to withdraw the phony petitions gathered by Democrats to get Schneller on the ballot.  Schneller appears to be reluctant to leave the race.  Perhaps if he does stay on the ballot he will be a constant reminder of the type of dirty shenanigans that have the right fired up and ready to boot Democrats out of office.

Perhaps Democrats are up to the same tricks in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District as well.  I wonder who helped Mr. Ligenfelter collect signatures for his petition.  We'll soon find out as that one appears to be headed to court.

Memeorandum also links National Review with more on Schneller

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