Several candidates for the Democratic Committee of Aliquippa will not be appearing on the ballot in May, after a Beaver County Judge ruled their nominating petitions were invalid.
Judge Gus Kwidis heard arguments on Friday from a group of Aliquippa residents who challenged the validity of petitions for four Democratic Committee candidates.
Democratic Committee people serve 4 year terms to elect the party’s Chairman and endorse candidates. To appear on the ballot, each candidate must submit a nominating petition signed by at least 10 registered Democratic voters who live in their precinct. The challenges alleged that signatures appearing on the petitions of four candidates did not come from the correct precinct or were not from registered voters.
Bill Battisti challenged the validity of Joe West’s petition (Battisti is running against West for a seat on the Democratic Committee), Lisa Walker challenged Torri Durham-Flannigan’s petition (Walker, who works as County Commissioner Joe Spanik’s secretary, is running against Flannigan), John Fratangeli challenged Mark Delon’s petition (Delon is running against Arthur Piroli, John Fratangeli’s wife Vicki is an Aliquippa Councilwoman), and Diana Abramovich submitted a challenge to Aileen Gilbert’s petition (Ambrovich is running against Gilbert).
Judge Gus Kwidis ruled that petitions for Torri Durham-Flannigan, Mark Delon, and Aileen Gilbert did not contain enough valid signatures and were invalid. As a result, their names will not appear on the ballot as candidates for Democratic Committee person. Judge Kwidis ruled that Joe West’s nominating petition was valid and his name will appear on the ballot.
Democratic Party insiders tell the Beaver Countian that the effort was spearheaded by Aliquippa Councilman Robert Rager, who himself is embroiled in the middle of a lawsuit filed by District Attorney Anthony Berosh challenging the legality of his position on City Council.