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March 17, 2015

Milton Street, city council hopefuls draw ballot challenges

Tuesday afternoon was the deadline for challenges of nominating petitions

Politics Elections
Kevin Greenberg Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Election Clerk for the County Board of Elections, Kevin A. Kelly, right, receives a petition from Attorney Kevin Greenberg, who filed a challenge to the nominating petitions of Dennis Lee, a candidate for city commissioner.

The deadline to challenge the nominating petitions of municipal candidates came and went relatively silently Tuesday, at least in terms of the mayoral race.

Of the six Democrats vying to succeed Michael Nutter as mayor, only the candidacy of Milton Street was challenged. 

That challenge, filed by attorney Kevin Greenberg on behalf of Joseph Coccio, the secretary-treasurer for Transit Workers Union Local 234, was filed Monday in the First Judicial District. 

No other mayoral candidates drew a challenge. Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline came without adding any hoopla to the Democratic mayoral primary, which essentially determines the city’s next mayor.

Eight city council candidates, however, including incumbent Jannie L. Blackwell, had nominating petitions challenged.

The candidacies of both Blackwell, who represents the Third Councilmanic District, and her opponent, public education advocate Tony Dphax King, drew challenges. 

So did the candidacies of entrepreneur S. Archye Leacock and Sabriya Bilal, two of the three Democratic candidates seeking to replace retiring Councilwoman Marian Tasco in the Ninth District. State Rep. Cherelle Parker also is seeking the seat.

The other candidates who are being challenged are 12th Ward leader Greg Paulmier, who is running against incumbent Cindy Bass in the Eighth District, and at-large candidates Billy Ivery, Lillian Ford and Karen Gordon, the founder of a West Philadelphia nonprofit.

Street, a former state senator, was the most prominent candidate to draw a challenge. 

Street does not meet residency and party registration requirements, Greenberg alleged after filing a separate challenge against city commissioner candidate Dennis Lee late Tuesday afternoon.

“On the residency, we believe he’s a resident of New Jersey and has been for the better part of three years,” Greenberg said. “That’s a question for the judge.” 

Greenberg also said Street’s candidacy should be cast aside because he is registered as an Independent, not a Democrat.

“It would be anarchy if you were able to pretend you were something other than what’s on your registration,” Greenberg said.

Street dismissed the allegations, saying he is confident he will prevail Friday, when the challenges are heard in the First Judicial District courts.

"My residency is the same as it was in 2011 when Nutter took me to court and I won," Street said.

Street said that he voted as a Democrat in the 2013 and 2014 primaries, saying the proof is in the records kept by the judge of elections. 

"Friday is the day," Street said. "We'll know. I feel strongly about it."

The candidacy of Larry King, who is running for sheriff, also is being challenged.