Candidate Legal Issues, Fayette County Election Bureau

Three primary ballot seats challenged in Fayette County

Challenges have been filed to nominating petitions for a magisterial district judge, a Connellsville councilman and Albert Gallatin Area school board director in Fayette County.

The petitions were all filed by the Tuesday deadline to challenge election paperwork, and made various claims to throw those seeking office off of the ballot in the May 16 primary. However,

Amber Nicole Shipley, a candidate for the seat of retiring Magisterial District Judge Wendy Dennis, said Wednesday that she intended to file the appropriate paperwork with the county election bureau and the state to remove herself from the ballot.

According to challenge filed against Shipley, there were flaws with 64 of the 112 signatures on her petitions. Some, according to allegations, were from registered Republicans, from those who live outside the district or were not living at the addresses listed. Twenty of them were improper or illegible, the challenge alleged.

Would more than 12 signatures be stricken, Shipley would’ve fallen below the 100 signatures needed to run for the office.

While Shipley said Wednesday she intended to withdraw, she did not offer comment about the signatures. Her petition is scheduled to be heard Friday.

The second petition challenged the paperwork of Shawn Basinger, a Democrat candidate for a seat on Connellsville City Council. It was filed by Connellsville resident Susan McCarthy, who is represented by attorney Brent E. Peck.

In the paperwork filed, McCarthy stated that Basinger submitted four nomination petitions containing a total of 103 signatures as well as a statement of financial interest.

McCarthy alleges that two of the signatures on the petition are Republicans, two signatures are not registered at the addresses provided on the petition, eight signatures are from residents outside the boundaries of the city and two signatures are either improper or non­existent and should be stricken.

Of the 103 signatures, McCarthy stated that 12 must be stricken from the petition and if they are removed, only 91 signatures would remain, making him short of the required 100 signatures to be placed on the primary ballot.

The third petition was objected the nomination petition of Richard Reynolds II, who is running for a seat on the Albert Gallatin Area school board.

The objector is Michael F. Dunham, who is also a candidate for a seat on the school board.

In his petition, Dunham alleges that Reynolds did not submit the required statement of financial interest as of March 14, 2017, which is the date the objection was filed, and requested a judge to strike Reynolds from the primary ballot.

A hearing on Basinger and Dunham have not been scheduled.

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