Campaign ’12: It’s deadline time for nominating petitions

The deadline to file nominating petitions for the U.S. House and Senate and state attorney general, auditor general and treasurer races was Tuesday, after the Times went to press.

The deadline is Thursday for state House and Senate candidates. They were given two additional days because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s plan unconstitutional.

For now, the primary will be held on April 24. Democrats hope the current legislative lines remain in place so they can eat into the big Republican advantages in the state House and Senate.

Republicans could seek to draw new lines in the next week or so. The public and Supreme Court would get another long look, meaning the primary could be moved to a later date.

If the lines stay the same, there could be a rematch in the 172nd Legislative District Democratic primary.

Teacher and 64th Ward committeeman Dan Collins, of Mayfair, plans to challenge freshman Rep. Kevin Boyle. Collins finished third in 2010 behind Boyle and Tim Kearney.

Boyle went on to defeat Rep. John Perzel, a former speaker first elected in 1978. Perzel was under indictment at the time and later pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Collins was unavailable to confirm his candidacy, but Boyle said he’d prefer a united party for November.

Al Taubenberger and Joe McGarrity were battling for the Republican nomination, but McGarrity suspended campaign activity on Monday.

Candidates for House seats need to file 300 nominating petitions, and McGarrity was just shy of 200. He didn’t believe he could reach his goal of 400 to 500. If he filed less than 400, a challenge to the petitions would be likely.

As the unendorsed candidate, McGarrity said it was difficult to put together a team to collect petitions, especially when it’s dark during the prime gathering time of 5 to 8 p.m.

McGarrity will keep his signatures in case new boundaries are drawn for this year.

“I’ll re-evaluate if there are new circumstances,” he said.

Under the lines that were rejected, Collins’ home was in Rep. John Taylor’s district. Boyle has an uneasy relationship with several Democratic ward leaders in the district but is counting on support from committee people. He cited his opposition to a planned methadone clinic in Holmesburg and focus on absentee landlords as two signs he has been an active lawmaker.

“I’m very confident,” he said. “I’ve only been in office for thirteen months, but I’m going to run on my record.”

Boyle believes he has the best chance to hold the seat for Democrats. In 2010, he defeated Perzel despite the fact that Republican Tom Corbett won the district in the governor’s race.

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Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.), Kevin’s older brother, might face a primary challenge. He twice lost to Republican Rep. George Kenney before capturing the seat in 2008, when Kenney retired.

The Republican candidate is George Weiss, a real estate broker/owner from Somerton.

“I’m following in the footsteps of George Kenney,” he said.

Weiss, 46, is a graduate of Maternity BVM Elementary School and La Salle High School. He’s a former president and treasurer of the Greater Bustleton Civic League; a football and basketball coach and former president of the Bustleton Bengals; a former 58th Ward committeeman; and a board member of the Northeast Suburban Athletic Conference (NESAC).

A father of five, he’s worked in real estate since 1986. His office is at 1828 Grant Ave. He supports vouchers for non-public schools and will monitor the city’s forthcoming Actual Value Initiative, which skeptics claim will result in higher property taxes.

“I’m going to meet the entire district,” he said. “I’m going to be knocking on doors from now until November.” ••