Today is the day political observers have been waiting for: The first day to circulate nominating petitions for elected offices ranging from Congress to every seat in the state House and half of those in the state Senate.
For Republicans and Democrats interested in getting their name on the May 20 primary ballot, the first step comes with getting the requisite number of signatures from registered voters of their party who reside in their state, district or municipality, depending on the seat being sought.
Signatures required are:
• For governor: At least 2,000 signatures, including at least 100 each from at least 10 different counties.
• For lieutenant governor: At least 1,000 signatures, including at least 100 each from at least five different counties.
• For state Senate: At least 500 signatures from registered voters from the same party in that district.
• For state representative: At least 300 signatures from registered voters from the same party in that house district.
• For U.S. House: At least 1,000 signatures from registered voters in that district.
The hottest races are for governor and lieutenant governor on the Democratic side as multiple candidates are jockeying for a chance to face off against the Republican incumbent team of Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.
Locally, the contest among Democrats looking to replace retiring state Rep. Phyllis Mundy in the 120th District also is shaping up to be a lively race as four candidates have announced their intention to run. Only one Republican, so far, has announced he’s running.
While plenty of names have been mentioned as potential candidates, the next three weeks will help flesh out which names will actually appear on the ballot.
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, is seeking reelection for a second term. As of Monday, he had not heard of any potential challengers from his own party of the Republican Party. He said he has heard about potential candidates for state House seats in his sprawling district, but until they formally declare or file the petitions with the required amount of signatures, it’s all just speculation.
“That first week is when you’ll know,” Yudichak said. People who want to get on the ballot will be out early looking for signatures and trying to get their names circulating throughout the district, he added.
Candidates have until the end of business March 11 to file their nominating petitions.
While plenty of potential candidates have announced their intention to run, without acquiring the proper number of signatures on their petition, their names will not appear on the ballot.
To date, these are the people who have declared their intent to to run for select offices this year (an * designates an incumbent):
• Governor: Republican: Tom Corbett*; Democrats: John Hanger, Jo Ellen Litz, Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, Max Myers, Allyson Schwartz and Tom Wolf.
• Lieutenant governor: Republican: Jim Cawley*; Democrats: Brenda Alton, Mark Critz, Brad Koplinski, Mike Stack and Mark Smith.
• Congress 11th House District: Republican: Lou Barletta*; Democrat: Andrew Ostrowski.
• Congress 17th House District: Republicans: Matthew Dietz and Dr. David Moylan; Democrat: Matthew Cartwright*.
• State House 116th District: Republican: Tarah Toohil*; Democrat: none.
• State House 117th District: Republican: Karen Boback*; Democrat: Laura Dickson.
• State House 118th District: Republican: none; Democrat: Mike Carroll*.
• State House 119th District: Republican: none; Democrat: Gerard Mullery*.
• State House 120th District: Republican: Aaron Kaufer; Democrats: John Bolin, Eileen Cipriani, Gary Mack and Brian Salko.
• State House 121st District: Republican: none; Democrat: Eddie Day Pashinski*.
• State Senate 14th District: Republican: none; Democrat: John Yudichak*.
• State Senate 20th District: Republican: Lisa Baker*; Democrat: none.
• State Senate 22nd District: Republican: none; Democrat: John Blake*.