With endorsed incumbent state Rep. Mark Gergely, D-White Oak, facing multiple corruption charges related to an illegal gambling operation throughout the Mon Valley, the prospects were looking up for McKeesport Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery, who switched parties to get on the Primary Election ballot as a Republican—the only one in the race.
That changed, March 17 when Commonwealth Court Judge Michael Wojcik upheld a challenge to her nominating petitions and removed Walker-Montgomery from the ballot.
Though the challenge was ostensibly filed by Republican voters, Walker-Montgomery released the following morning placing the blame elsewhere.
“State Representative Marc Gergley, his attorneys and political goon squad, used legal technicalities/flawed specialist to remove my name from the ballot. They spent extensive money and resources getting attorneys to remove my name from the ballot,” she said.
“While I am disappointed in the outcome, I am not discouraged. We always knew that this would be an uphill fight and that the powers that be would do everything in their power to try to prevent me from becoming the next State Representative in the 35th District. Clearly, they are scared of my candidacy because they know I am a strong, credible candidate with the proven experience to do the job right.”
Her campaign had submitted 389 signatures, well above the 300-name threshold. But it was not enough. Seventy-seven were stipulated as invalid by both sides. by the end of the hearing, the number was down to 295, with some removed for wrong addresses, others for handwriting—14 of those because the person circulating the petition—not the voter—filled in information like the date, or address, or the printed version of the signature.
“I had two people who signed affidavits saying signatures were theirs—the judge disallowed them anyway,” she said. “Its just another example of the corruption in the party. Someone facing six counts of corruption and election violations should not be the voter’s only choice.”
While she may be down, Walker-Montgomery may not be out entirely. She can still force her way back onto the Republican ballot in November if she can get 300 write-in votes in the April 26 primary.
My fight is far from being over. My dedicated campaign volunteers and I will be organizing a write-in” campaign to ensure the voters in the 35th District have a choice in the General Election,” she said. “Working together we can end the political corruption, create more family-sustaining jobs, improve our local schools, and eliminate the crime epidemic plaguing our communities.”