Original jurisdiction in case of In Re: Nomination Papers of Joseph F. Smith, as the candidate of a political body for the office of Representative in the United States House of Representatives.
Joseph H. Huston, Jr., Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, with him Alan C. Kessler, for petitioner.
Benjamin Paul, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.
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David B. Glancey, Democratic Party candidate for United States Representative from Pennsylvania's Third Congressional District in Philadelphia, contests the nomination papers of Joseph F. Smith, candidate of the political body denominated "Smith for Congress."
We have carefully reviewed the pleadings, considered the factual assertions and analyzed the appropriate law as it applies to the issues presented herein and
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 152]
hold that the nomination papers of Smith, the political body designate, must be set aside.
This political controversy erupted when on May 15, 1981, the Governor issued a writ declaring that a special election would be held on July 21, 1981 to fill the vacancy in the Third Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Following is a recitation of the complex political maneuver which resulted in Smith's being hung on his own petard as a political body candidate: On May 18, 1981, Smith, a registered and enrolled elector of the Democratic Party began compiling signatures in support of his candidacy on petitions under the political body designation "Smith for Congress." On May 28, 1981, in compliance with the rules of the Democratic party, Smith also presented himself to the ward leaders of his party soliciting the party's formal nomination certification. At that time he was a registered and enrolled member of the Democratic Party from at least 1952, a Democratic Senator representing the Fourth District since 1970, and a member of the party's 31st Ward Executive Committee. The Democratic City Committee however rejected Smith and endorsed Glancey as its properly designated standard bearer. On May 29, 1981 the Democratic State Committee approved the City Committee's recommendation. At approximately twelve o'clock noon that day Smith officially changed his party enrollment to "NP" or non-partisan. On May 29, 1981, after the Republican Party endorsed Smith as its candidate, Smith announced that he would not only accept that nomination but Smith would also seek to be identified on the ballot as the "Smith for Congress" political body candidate.
On June 1, 1981, two sets of documents were accepted and filed by the Bureau of Elections certifying Smith's name in nomination. The first, filed at 11:35 a.m., were nomination papers for the political body
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 153]
"Smith for Congress." The second, filed at either 11:37 a.m. or 11:41 a.m., were the Republican Party's nomination certificate.
Although the Bureau determined that a political body's nomination papers must only contain 1,359 valid signatures to qualify it for designation on the special election ballot, Smith submitted approximately 4,318 signatures obtained by him or his agents between May 18, 1981 and May 31, 1981. Of this number 782 elector signatures were affixed after May 29, 1981, the date Smith changed his party enrollment. In addition, all of the nomination paper circulators as well as all four individuals named in the "Smith for Congress" Committee are registered in the County Commissioner's Office as Democrats, while twenty-five of the circulators are actually Democratic Committeemen or women.
Attached to these nomination papers were affidavits executed by Smith on May 30, 1981 expressly stating that his name "has not been presented as a candidate to be voted for at the ensuing Special Election, by any other nomination papers or certificates filed for such office." Additional affidavits were executed on May 30th and 31st by Smith expressly stating that as a political body candidate he is not a registered and enrolled member of a political party and that his name "has not been presented as a candidate by nomination petitions for any public office to be voted for at the ensuing Primary Election, nor . . . by any other nomination papers for any such office. . . ."
On June 1, 1981, Smith joined the leaders of the Republican Party in a news conference during which he stated that if his candidacy as an "independent Democrat with Republican support" was successful in the election, he would immediately reinstate his Democratic registration status, "take a seat on the Democratic side of the aisle" in the House of Representatives, and join the Democratic Congressional caucus.