Voters should evaluate and choose elected officials based on their trustworthiness and their ability to make good judgments and follow the rule of law. Republican candidate for the 158th Lenny Rivera chose to ignore and/or violate election laws with regard to the submission of signatures in the nominating petition process and rather than face court action has chosen to remove his name from the April 26 ballot.
Mr. Rivera submitted signed petitions for his candidacy to be notarized and claimed to have circulated them himself but had not and was caught. This is not only poor and non-ethical behavior for a state legislator candidate; in doing so, he knowingly made sworn false statements to a public notary. This illegal behavior should not be rewarded with a free pass to be on the ballot April 26, and should his expected write-in campaign be successful, voters should seriously question his honesty and integrity on November 8th, particularly given the current lack of trust state voters have in their legislators in Harrisburg to pass a realistic budget.
Democrats play by the rules; so should the Republicans, especially given their previous abuse of the election schedule in withdrawing a flawed 2014 candidate for this seat nearly two months after the state-mandated deadline and inserting one who did not go through the primary process. For County Republican Chair Val DiGiorgio to say on Wednesday that Democrats are “playing political games” in disclosing clearly unlawful behavior is disingenuous.
Democrat Susan Rzucidlo is a strong advocate in Harrisburg for those in society least able to care for themselves. She has demonstrated integrity, knowledge and concern for voter issues, made clear her positions, and conducted several hard, well-run campaigns against Chris Ross, a long-term moderate Republican incumbent. The retiring Ross may have deserved and received a pass to go to Commonwealth Court to have his name added to the November 2014 ballot when another candidate removed himself after all reasonable deadlines had passed and absentee ballots had to be retrieved, reprinted and mailed at taxpayer expense. But Lenny Rivera had a well-documented process to follow and had plenty of time to do it correctly. Any additional effort required on his behalf to get on the general election ballot because of failure to follow the law is his own fault.
Brian J. McGinnis Chair, Chester County Democratic Committee