Republican Bob Guzzardi was stricken from the ballot today by order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, leaving incumbent Governor Tom Corbett as the sole candidate at the top of the GOP ticket.
While the court has not yet issued full opinions (only an order so far), the only dissenting opinion was filed by Justices Max Baer, and joined by Debra Todd—both Democrats. Thus, each Republican member of the court voted to boot Guzzardi.
Guzzardi has estimated that the Pennsylvania Republican Party spent close to $60,000 in the protracted legal battle, which Guzzardi initially won at the lower level.
In the per curium order, the majority held that “[t]he untimely filing of the statement [of financial interests] constitutes a fatal defect that precludes a candidate’s appearance on the ballot.”
In Justice Baer’s dissent, however, Baer stated that Guzzardi had a non-negligent reason for filing late, and would permit him to stay on the ballot “because the Commonwealth Court conducted an evidentiary hearing and made findings of fact, which are supported by the record, establishing that Guzzardi was ready, willing, and able to file his statement of financial interests with the Ethics Commission, and only failed to do so because a Department of State employee told him that such filing was unnecessary.”
This is ultimately a huge victory for the Corbett campaign. By knocking off his only challenger, his primary election win will seem stronger and untainted by a significant amount of “Not Tom Corbett” votes.
Guzzardi, should he choose to continue to seek the Republican nomination, will have to run as a write-in candidate.