Lehigh Valley

Beyer wins ballot challenge for state House seat

Will take on Simmons in 131st District race

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer ruled Thursday that Michael Beyer will be the Democratic challenger to take on Republican incumbent Justin Simmons for a seat in the state house in November's election.

"I always knew that this is how the judge would rule in this frivolous lawsuit," said Beyer in a news release.

"I'm relieved for me, but more relieved for my supporters who were threatened with subpoenas and subject to needless worry. I am so proud of how they held up."

The 29-year-old Beyer is facing Simmons in a race for the 131st District State House seat, which includes southern Lehigh County and part of Northampton County.

Beyer's qualifications to be a candidate were challenged in court.

Beyer, who resides in Northampton County's Lower Saucon Township, is the son of former state Rep. Karen Beyer,  a Republican who lost her House seat to Simmons in 2010.

Michael Beyer switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run against Simmons.

The judge ruled that it was not wrong for Beyer to call himself a lawyer although he has not yet passed the bar exam. He earned his law degree at the University of Pittsburgh Law School in 2013.

In a 14-page ruling, Jubelirer said: "Based on his demeanor, this court finds candidate's testimony credible and persuasive in its entirety.

"Accordingly, this court holds that objectors did not meet their burden of proving that candidate misrepresented his occupation."

"Throughout this process, I've been building my campaign team, laying the groundwork for fund-raising and generally moving forward," Beyer added.

"Now the real work of this campaign can begin -- knocking on doors, meeting and engaging the volunteers and voters in the district. I look forward to the campaign."

 David and Linda Eisenhauer of Coopersburg are listed on the suit aimed at stopping Beyer, but they did not participate in the case, according to Atty. Adam Bonin, Beyer's lawyer. It was filed by Atty. Matthew Croslis, a Democrat and former Lehigh County executive.

"The real question is 'who funded it?'" said Bonin.

Simmons' camp could not be reached for a comment on the ruling.

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