Judge Rules Milton Street Can Run for Mayor as a Democrat

But he is still facing legal questions about his residency.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Inquirer’s Chris Brennan reports that a Common Pleas Court Judge has determined that, despite being officially registered as an independent, Milton Street is eligible to run as a Democrat in the mayoral primary.

Judge Chris Wogan said that Street was “beyond negligent,” but still concluded the law allows Street to run as a Democrat. Writes Brennan:

Common Pleas Judge Chris Wogan said he could find no state law that required Street to be registered as a Democrat when he filed nomination petitions on March 10 to run in the May 19 primary.

And Wogan said he could only remove Street from the ballot if he found that he had “intentionally” deceived the voters by listing his party affiliation as Democrat in his candidate affidavit.

Street has said he believed he was registered as a Democrat. The judge has not yet ruled on another element of the challenge to Street’s candidacy: his residency. Local labor leader Joseph Coccio Jr., who is secretary-treasurer of the Transit Workers Union (which is supporting mayoral candidate Tony Williams) alleges that Street does not in fact live in Philadelphia.

Which means Street could still be struck from the ballot. But if he survives that element of the challenge too, what would it mean for the mayoral political landscape?

  1. It’s bad news for Tony Williams. Street’s base—low and moderate income black voters—would seem fairly likely to support Williams if Street were booted from the ballot. So long as Street remains in the mix, Williams’ vote total is likely to be lower.
  2. Conversely, it’s good news for all the other candidates, particularly Jim Kenney and Lynne Abraham. Because Philadelphia voters usually vote along racial lines, Kenney and Abraham are rooting for Street to stay in the race.

If Street does survive today, will that be the end of all this? Maybe, maybe not. Coccio Jr. could appeal to the state Commonwealth Court, which would hear the case on an expedited basis.