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Court ruling forces candidates to suspend campaigns

Court ruling forces candidates to suspend campaigns

Candidates trying to win seats in Pennsylvania's new legislative districts have put their campaigns on hold -- at least until the state Supreme Court decides how to change the lines.  That could mean holding a special primary election.

Until there is a Supreme Court recommendation, the state has no choice but to operate under 2001 district lines.

That means some candidates who announced they would run under the new district lines may now be forced to drop out if they don't live in the old districts.

A lot of blank petitions to get candidates on the ballot are sitting on the desk of Northampton County Republican Chairman Robert Kerr.

The problem is the candidates don't know what district seat they are running for.

"They can't sign in an area where they aren't and yet they need to get enough signatures and it takes a long time to do that." said Kerr.

Last week, the state Supreme Court threw out the new districts, calling the redistricting approach "contrary to law."

"Basically said this is the second time we've had to intervene you guys go back to the drawing board and come up with something." said Bar Johnston, presiding officer of the Lehigh County Democratic Party.

"Some folks that put a lot of money into campaigns, maybe launched campaigns already, it put them in a situation where they were running for an office that they can't legally hold," said Kerr.

So now candidates and voters will have to wait until the court makes a recommendation on what to do.

"Fixing the map that was created and then running with that, staying for the next two years, likely with the old maps, or the last option would be that they have a special election for those seats that are affected," said Kerr, who noted that the Supreme Court should make a recommendation on how to change the district lines Tuesday.

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