Jordan withdraws candidacy for mayor
City councilwoman was planning to run on Republican ballot
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Altoona Republicans will see only one candidate on their ballot for mayor in the May 21 primary.
Altoona City Councilwoman Christie Jordan, who filed petitions to seek the party’s nomination for mayor, advised the Blair County elections office Monday that she was withdrawing her candidacy.
Her request was rendered on the same day the elections office learned of an order from President Judge Elizabeth Doyle, directing Jordan’s name be removed from the ballot because Jordan was a day late in submitting her required financial statement.
“I kind of figured that was going to be her ruling,” Jordan told the Mirror on Monday afternoon. “There are so many technical things with running for office … and I’m still young in politics. I’m not as seasoned as other individuals.”
Doyle’s ruling leaves incumbent Mayor Matthew Pacifico as the only Republican running for his party’s nomination for a four-year term. Candidates Bridgette Jackson and Mark Geis will be on the Democratic ballot in the primary, setting up a contested election for November.
Jordan, 41, remains on City Council through December 2021. She is in the second year of a four-year term that started in January 2018.
Republican William E. Straesser of Altoona recently challenged Jordan’s candidacy for mayor by pointing to her late filing of a required financial statement and to flaws with voter signatures on her candidate petitions.
In a court hearing last week, Jordan admitted to the judge that her financial statement was filed at City Hall on March 13, the morning after the May 12 deadline. By the time she recognized that the form was to be filed March 12 with the city, City Hall was closed, Jordan said.
Doyle’s five-page ruling referenced a 1993 Pennsylvania Supreme Court order finding that common pleas courts have no authority to override “these kind of statutory requirements.”
Those who fail to comply, the judge said in reference to the Supreme Court ruling, present “a fatal defect” which keeps their names from appearing on the ballot.
Straesser also objected to Jordan’s candidacy because voters signatures on her petitions appeared to have been written by the same person. Election laws require everyone signing a candidate petition to print and write their own names, write their own addresses and date their actions.
Jordan said she was she was out of town for nine days when signatures on her petitions were collected. She said she had three people helping her and despite good intentions, they had never before circulated candidate petitions.
“I’m sure there were some people out there who told (those collecting signatures) to just put their name down,” she said.
Doyle, in light of concluding that Jordan missed the financial statement deadline, did not address the signatures.
Straesser told the Mirror that he raised objections to Jordan’s candidacy because of the petition flaws and not because anyone asked him to. Straesser has raised questions in prior years about flaws he has identified in candidate petitions. After last week’s court hearing, Straesser reiterated his belief that those seeking political office should be able to follow the rules.
Doyle’s ruling reflects a similar conclusion based on her research of Pennsylvania law.
“Provisions of the (state’s) election code relating to the form of nominating petitions and the accompanying affidavits are not mere technicalities, but are necessary measures to prevent fraud and to preserve the integrity of the election process,” the judge stated.
Jordan offered no criticism of the judge’s conclusion.
“I think she’s a fair judge,” Jordan said. “I highly respect her decision.”
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.