Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s own lawyer agrees the presidential campaign submitted fewer valid signatures than are required for the candidate to appear on Pennsylvania’s primary ballot. But he argued in court Wednesday that it doesn’t matter because an objection to Mr. Kasich’s nominating petitions was filed 13 minutes too late. At issue is whether challenges to Pennsylvania nominating petitions are due by 5 p.m. or 11:59 p.m. on the last day to file. Attorneys for Mr. Kasich and the objector have stipulated that the campaign filed no more than 2,184 signatures with the state, and that 192 of those signatures were not valid. Republican and Democratic candidates for president must submit 2,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.
But the objection to Mr. Kasich’s nominating petition was filed at 5:13 p.m. on the last day to challenge nominating petitions, and his attorney argues that makes it 13 minutes too late to be considered. The objector’s attorney disagrees, saying there is no requirement that the filing be received by 5 p.m.
Both sides appeared Wednesday in Commonwealth Court, where Judge Bonnie Leadbetter said the matter may go to a three-judge panel. She set deadlines of next Monday and Wednesday for additional briefs.
Judge Leadbetter said the case is “a matter of significance,” because Mr. Kasich is running for president and because there does not appear to be a legal precedent determining whether the deadline is 5 p.m. or midnight.