I’ve mentioned before that I can’t stand hypocritical clown Pat Meehan, the Republican nominee for PA-7 this year. From Portia at Young Philly Politics:
Whatever you think of Pat Meehan, you have to admire his talent for creative problem solving. A former U.S. Attorney and Delaware County DA, Meehan presumably knows a thing or two about election law. That didn’t, however, stop him from filing nomination petitions so rife with errors that a fifth grader with so so vision might have questioned their adequacy. Was this stupid beyond belief? Well, sure. But give creddit where it’s due: since the problems came to light, Meehan’s handling of the situation has been nothing short of masterful. Future candidates caught up in petition scandals would do well to take notes on the problems he’s faced and how he’s responded.
Problem 1: Twenty pages of your nomination petition were circulated by a guy with known ethical problems. Your opponent, seeing line after line in the same handwriting, begins calling alleged signers. When those contacted — including one of your neighbors — denies knowing anything about a petition, it’s apparent there’s a problem. Best way to handle this:
(A) Since you know you’re caught, call your buddy, the current Delco DA, and request that he investigate. Make a preemptive announcement to the press describing the step you’ve taken and commending yourself for taking “the high road.”
(B) Suggest that only a few signatures are affected. Don’t mention that the guy collected more than 600 signatures or that most of your other petition pages have problems too.
(C) Distance yourself from the shady circulator. Have your campaign spokesperson describe the circulator as “not a Meehan volunteer,” and as someone who “ must have been acting at the behest of the municipal or county Republican committees.” Disregard the fact that you assembled the petition, knowingly included the shady circulator’s pages and either didn’t review the pages or ignored the red flags before attaching a candidate’s affidavit confirming that you were following applicable election laws.
Problem 2: Your opponent challenges you, identifying a sufficient number of allegedly “bad” signatures to bring you below the mandatory minimum. Best way to handle this:
(A) Claim your opponent is playing petty politics and that you wouldn’t stoop to this level. Do not mention that your campaign carefully reviewed your opponent’s petitions, which you’d presumably only have done if you too were considering a challenge.
(B) Note that you’ve identified 500 invalid signatures on your opponent’s petitions, then suggest you too could file a challenge but are too high minded to do so. DO NOT note that eliminating 500 signatures would still leave your opponent with 4 times the required number, making any such challenge a sure loser.
(C) Hire a recently retired member of the court that will hear your challenge to represent you (hey – it worked for Brady). Have the retired judge announce to the press that your alleged errors are minor and amendable –even though he held the opposite while still on the bench.
This challenge being in its early stages, stay tuned for further tips on how to spin the issues and make lemonade from lemons.