Paule backs out of race

GOP candidate for City Council accused of making anti-American postings

The Republican candidate for City Council whose anti-American internet postings from several years ago triggered consternation when they were exposed after the primary by the Daily Kos website has withdrawn her candidacy.

Samantha Paule, who said she made the postings out of frustration with the U.S. then, but who’s since renounced those postings, filed a withdrawal affidavit Friday with the Blair County Election Board, saying she wanted to do what’s best for the community and her party — although after the initial exposure, she said she’d remain in the race.

The Blair County Republican Committee members from the city will soon convene to choose a replacement candidate, according to county Chairman Jim Foreman.

“She didn’t really have a choice,” said Republican City Councilman Dave Butterbaugh. “It’s going to take some time after those remarks.”

“I support ISIS,” Paule wrote in one post five or more years ago. “Love and bubbles and death to the terroristic state of America.”

She’s repentant now, she says.

“(Those) remarks several ago, I deeply regret and disavow,” she stated, reading from a script she said she wrote herself on Friday.

She apologized to those offended by the postings “and for any doubt they created regarding my commitment to the party process, my allegiance to my country and my Christian faith.”

The postings created a “distraction” for her campaign, and it seemed “best for my family and the Republican party for me to withdraw,” she said.

She initially ran to advance the Republican goals of protecting individual liberty and promoting limited government and personal responsibility and “remains committed to these ideas and values,” she said.

She plans to continue to work for the party “assisting our candidates” in November, she said.

It’s too early for her to say whether she’d ever consider another run for office, she said.

The caucusing of the Altoona committee members can’t start until the party receives formal notice from the Election Board that Paule has withdrawn, Foreman said.

There are about 50 active committee people in the city, with two permitted for each precinct, Foreman said.

There isn’t a prescribed process for selecting a replacement candidate, but typically, the members would try to figure out “the will of the voters in their respective precincts” first, so they can get a handle on “eligible and interested” replacements, Foreman said.

That could include people who’ve run for council before and those the committee members believe would do best for the city, he said.

If a large number emerges, there could be a two- or three-step vetting to shrink the pool, but if only a couple come forward, it could be one-step, he said.

He would help facilitate, without trying to influence the choice, and he’d probably appoint a parliamentarian to ensure the “conferees” proceed correctly, Foreman said.

After the conferees choose a replacement candidate, the party would submit the necessary paperwork to the county election office, he said.

It might take a week for the conferees to begin, he said.

“We want to move on it as quickly as possible, without rushing,” he said.

If Paule had not withdrawn, the Republican Committee would not have worked against her, Foreman said Friday, before the news of Paule’s withdrawal surfaced.

“The party supports its candidates unless and until they withdraw (or are otherwise removed),” he said. “The people vote, and that’s the horse you ride.”

Paule had been one of two Republicans running for two council seats in November, with no Democrats on the ballot.

Asked on Friday, also before news of Paule’s withdrawal surfaced, whether the Blair County Democratic Committee was hoping to encourage one or more write-in candidates, given the damage to Paule’s candidacy, Demo­cratic Chairwoman Gillian Kratzer said, “It’s something we’re pursuing.”

Kratzer didn’t respond immediately to a message left Friday evening to ask whether that’s still the plan, given that the Republicans will now have a replacement for Paule on the ballot in November.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.