Lenny Rivera, the Republican who wants to replace Chris Ross as state representative for the 158th Legislative District, will not be on the April 26 primary ballot, but he still wants the nomination.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party hopeful Susan Rzucidlo hopes the GOP will nominate someone who isn’t as “ethically challenged.”
Rivera withdrew his name from the primary ballot after three people formally challenged signatures on his nominating petition. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for March 16, but Rivera withdrew his name. However, he said in a telephone interview that he would still run for the GOP nomination through a write-in campaign.
“If I get 300 or more write-in votes, then my name will appear on the ballot in November,” he said. “I’m looking forward to taking my experience to Harrisburg and representing the 158th with a lot of enthusiasm.”
State law requires that a would-be nominee receive 300 signatures to get on a primary ballot. Rivera said he gathered more than 600. However, for some of those signatures, he was not the person in front of the signer holding the clipboard. He was in the area — within 100 yards — but not in front of some of the petition-signers.
“The law now is that I have to be holding the petition when they sign. It’s no longer valid that I’m in the vicinity,” Rivera said.
Rivera speculated that the challenges to the signatures came from Rzucidlo’s supporters and that it was strictly a political move to eliminate him from competing against her for the position.
“I take my character and integrity very seriously. This is political posturing by my opponent who doesn’t really want to address the issues of how Gov. Wolf wants to force down the throats of Chester County residents the largest tax increase in the history of the commonwealth. She wants to get to Harrisburg just to help him do that, and I’m not going to allow that to happen,” Rivera said.
Rzucidlo readily acknowledged that the challengers — while registered Republicans — are her friends and supporters, who share her belief that “the political system must be done ethically and legally. You can’t break the law and think you can be a public servant.”
Speaking to Rivera’s comment about political posturing, the four-time Democratic Party candidate said she has always been about issues and ethics.
“I’m running because I want to serve the people. I believe so passionately that we first have to start from a place of ethics, and we have to clean up government...When you stand on a place of ethics, you can sit down and work on issues. I have never walked away from discussing issues…I have not seen any issue statements from him at all. All I’ve seen from him is false swearing,” she said.
“I would hope there is someone who is not ethically challenged who would be interested and inclined to run at this point,’ she added.
Rivera, along with Perry Bentley and Eric Roe, had been seeking the GOP nomination to replace Ross, but the party endorsed Rivera in January.
Ross is calling it quits on his state political career. He wanted to retire from the House two years ago, but was pressed back into running when Republican Cuyler Walker abruptly withdrew his candidacy.