Judge to review Jordan’s petitions
Mayoral run held up by questions about signatures, financial interest statement
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County judge is being asked to review the documents Altoona City Councilwoman Christie Jordan submitted to seek the Republican nomination for mayor in the spring primary.
President Judge Elizabeth Doyle said Thursday that she will review Jordan’s candidacy petitions and financial interest statement, as challenged by William E. Straesser of Altoona.
Straesser, a Republican who worked for former U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, has previously reviewed and challenged petitions filed by political candidates.
“There are a lot of rules to running for office,” Straesser said Thursday. “Hers had a lot of glaring errors.”
Jordan, 41, is one of two Republican candidates seeking the city mayoral post. The other is incumbent Mayor Matt Pacifico.
Two Democrats, Bridgette Jackson and Mark Geis, are also asking for their party’s nomination in the May 21 primary.
Jordan acknowledged to Doyle that her statement of financial interest was stamped with March 13 as a receipt date at Altoona City Hall. Jordan said that by the time she realized on March 12 that the document was due that day, City Hall was closed, so she submitted the statement the next morning.
Failing to meet that deadline has been viewed as a “fatal flaw,” Straesser told Doyle.
Mirror records show that in 2015, Blair County Judge Wade A. Kagarise used the reason to declare three Hollidaysburg Area School Board candidates ineligible for the primary ballot because they were a day late with submitting financial interest statements.
Straesser also asked Doyle to strike 125 of 132 voter signatures on Jordan’s petitions. If Doyle grants that request, the potential mayoral candidate will be left with seven valid signatures, far short of the 100 required to seek the post.
In asking for the signatures to be stricken, Straesser pointed to similar handwriting of the names on the petitions, indicating that one person was responsible for securing and signing the names.
State election law requires voters signing candidate petitions to print and to sign his or her name, then fill in his or her address and date the action. The law also requires petition signers to live within the candidate’s municipality or governing area and to be of the same political party. One of Jordan’s signers had a Hollidaysburg address.
Straesser also advised Doyle that Jordan’s petitions include the name of a woman who denies signing. The name and signature of the woman’s husband is on Jordan’s petition, too, Straesser said, but the husband is in a nursing home. In response, Jordan apologized publicly for what Straesser described. She had no specific explanation.
Jordan also told the judge that she had been out of state for nine days and at one point, her petitions to seek the post had gone missing.
“Mysteriously, they showed up on my front porch,” Jordan said.
Doyle ordered a transcript of Thursday’s hearing and pledged to begin a review of the allegations and how election laws apply.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.