An independent Republican challenging Gov. Tom Corbett in next month’s
GOP primary will be allowed to remain on the election ballot after a state judge ruled in the Montgomery County businessman’s favor.
Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt sided with Bob Guzzardi in his bid to remain a choice for voters during the May Republican primary against Corbett, who is seeking his second term in office.
The state Republican Party had challenged Guzzardi’s nominating petitions, arguing ineligible signatures and other issues should have put the kibosh on the challenger’s bid to be included as a viable candidate.
Guzzardi, who says he is a semi-retired businessman and inactive attorney, will be Corbett’s only challenger during the May 20 primary.
The state GOP, led by its general counsel, Philadelphia attorney Lawrence Tabas, had taken issue with the fact that Guzzardi didn’t file financial interest statements on time, according to media reports.
Guzzardi testified before Leavitt, the Commonwealth Court judge, that he got improper instructions from a state clerk, records show.
Guzzardi was celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover this week and unavailable for comment, his lawyer, Gretchen Sterns, told the local news website Newsworks.
However, Sterns was quoted as calling the court ruling a “victory for the democratic process and Republican primary voters.
Tabas, in a brief interview with the Pennsylvania Record, said he filed an appeal of Leavitt’s ruling on Wednesday morning.
He said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction and ordered both sides to have their briefs filed by Monday.
On his campaign website, Guzzardi, who calls himself an independent Republican, says he is an advocate for liberty and limited government, supports economic freedom, favors reduced regulation and restricted government intervention in the free market, and is for lower taxes and individual empowerment, personal autonomy and personal responsibility.
“Every tax diminishes individual freedom and individual autonomy and the ability to spend your own money the way you think best,” he writes. “I believe you should keep what you earn to spend, save or invest as you think best for yourself.”
Guzzardi resides in Ardmore, Montgomery County, which is located just over the Philadelphia County line.