By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
HARRISBURG — A state judge Wednesday ruled that Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson will remain on the Pennsylvania ballot for November’s general election.
Commonwealth Court Judge James Gardner Colins determined that Johnson had collected 20,730 valid signatures, just above the threshold of 20,601 signature required by state law for third parties to get on the ballot.
Along with Johnson, the Libertarians will their candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senate, state auditor general, state attorney general and state treasurer.
Tom Stevens, chairman of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party, said the ruling was a victory in an uphill battle against the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, which had brought the challenge against Johnson.
“Now the voters of Pennsylvania will have an opportunity to have a real choice in who to vote for in statewide and national elections this November,” he told PA Independent.
Ronald Hicks Jr., a Pittsburgh attorney for the Pennsylvania GOP, said the Libertarians got on the ballot by overwhelming the review process that gave limited time for the GOP to review and challenge all signatures.
Hicks pointed to the fact that more than half of the 49,000 signatures originally submitted by the Libertarians were deemed to be invalid during the review process, and that more than 90 percent of all the signatures were from Philadelphia.
“The Libertarians are on the ballot without the full support of the Pennsylvania electorate,” he said. “They had six months to gather these signatures across the commonwealth, and they didn’t.”
A separate challenge to Johnson’s place on the ballot is still pending in the state Supreme Court, with no timetable for a decision. Both sides said that challenge was rendered moot by the Commonwealth Court ruling.
By adding Pennsylvania, Johnson will appear on at least 48 state’s ballots in November.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein also has qualified for the ballot in Pennsylvania.
Contact Boehm at Eric@PAIndependent.com and follow @PAIndependent on Twitter.