City Council candidate off of primary ballot

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Wilson Saguban’s name will not be on the May primary ballot as a Republican candidate for Altoona City Council after a ruling this week in Blair County court.

On Tuesday, Judge Jolene Kopriva upheld incumbent Republican primary candidate David Butterbaugh’s challenge of Saguban’s candidacy, based on invalid nominating petition signatures.

At a hearing last week, Saguban admitted that 24 of the signatures were no good, leaving him four short of the required 100.

Saguban asked Kopriva to grant him permission to gather the additional signatures, despite the deadline having passed.

“[But] a review of the case law does not suggest that a court has discretion to grant more time to a petitioner that has fallen short of the required number of electors without some extenuating circumstances,” Kopriva wrote.

“I’m pleased to see the integrity of the process held intact,” Butterbaugh said Tuesday. “The rules are set up to guarantee fairness. … If [the ruling] makes people work harder and abide by the rules of the process, that would certainly be a step in the right direction.”

Saguban said he appreciates and respects Kopriva’s decision. He said he now plans to run a write-in campaign on the Democratic side, where there are no ballot candidates. There are now three candidates on the Republican side for three open seats.

The incident will help to show the people of Altoona his character, Saguban said, adding that might even help him to get elected.

“It’s the classic story: When there’s an obstacle, some people give up, and some people don’t,” he said.

He’s not upset with Butterbaugh, Saguban added.

“He has to do what he has to do,” Saguban said. “It shows his character, too.”

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.