MEDIA — Delaware County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Joseph P. Cronin Jr. granted the Republican candidate for the 17th District Lance Rogers a preliminary injunction prohibiting his contender Lisa Paolino from distributing sample ballots.
Cronin made his decision Saturday after a two-hour, 12-minute hearing into the issue that will impact Paolino’s ability to hand out ballots on the primary election Tuesday.
“The question will come down to the fact whether he’s the endorsed candidate or not,” Cronin said of Rogers.
Rogers, the endorsed Republican candidate, was seeking both a preliminary and mandatory injunction barring Paolino, also a Republican, from distributing ballots and Cronin solely ruled on the preliminary matter, which, in effect, stunted her from distributing sample ballots to voters entering the polls. He said the mandatory ruling would have to be decided at a later unscheduled date.
At issue was the similarity in the green ballot that Paolino was distributing and the white and blue ballot circulated by the Delaware County Republican Finance Committee.
After the judge made his ruling, Guy Paolino, who was representing Lisa Paolino, said, “We respect what the court says.”
Rogers’ attorney, Robert Kerns, said, “Overall, both in Montgomery County and here, it was an attempt to deceive the voters and to turn attention from the endorsed candidate.”
Rogers said he was disheartened by Lisa Paolino.
“That is the ultimate form of deception,” he said. “We want a level playing field. We just want a fair election.”
Lisa Paolino was not present at the proceedings.
However, her campaign issued a statement that read, “Taking my campaign to court is just another example of a campaign of harassment Lance Rogers has run against me.
“If Lance Rogers is so scared of a piece of paper that doesn’t even have his name on it, what kind of backbone will he have to stand up for us in the state senate?”
Much of the hearing was devoted to how the county GOP endorses its candidates.
Carol Miller, vice chair/secretary and executive director of the Delaware County Republican Party was questioned about the party’s nominating process.
She explained that when a majority of a contender’s district lies in another county, the local GOP concurs with the nomination of the majority county.
“Generally, the county that holds the majority of precincts, we go by their endorsement process,” she said.
Miller gave the example of state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, whose district lies in parts of Chester and Delaware counties. As the bulk of his geography remains in Delaware County, the local GOP makes their nomination in this position and the other counties acknowledge it.
Guy Paolino contested that.
“Delaware County has no endorsed candidate for this position,” he said, adding there was no election or meeting in Delaware County held to nominate a candidate for this slot.
Kerns said the key was the impact the ballot would have on the process.
“The issue becomes what is shown to the voters,” he said. “Is this a ballot that is deceptive … that would prevent a fair election?”
Friday, a Montgomery County judge issued a similar order to halt Paolino from distributing sample ballots that allegedly confused voters.