The 13 Minutes That Might Keep Kasich on the Pennsylvania Ballot

John Kasich didn’t submit enough signatures to appear on the ballot in the Pennsylvania primary. But his lawyers say a challenge to him was 13 minutes too late.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich - Pennsylvania seal - 2016 GOP Pennsylvania primary

John Kasich is fighting to stay on the Republican ballot in the Pennsylvania primary.

Last month, Penn student Nathaniel Rome filed to remove the Ohio governor from the ballot in the commonwealth. Kasich — the Republican presidential candidate you may remember from the time he threw out a Roots CD because they were too vulgar for him — gathered 2,184 signatures for the Pennsylvania primary. A candidate only needs 2,000.

But Rome said more than 800 Kasich signatures might be invalid, and attorneys for both sides eventually agreed that 192 were invalid — dropping Kasich below the 2,000-signature threshold.

But Kasich’s attorneys said that was OK, because the challenge was invalid. Rome, chairman of Pennsylvania Students for Rubio, filed it at 5:13 p.m. on the last day for challenging nominating petitions. An attorney for Kasich says 5 p.m. is the deadline for challenges, while Rome’s lawyer (John Bravacos) argues he had until the end of that whole day. Yes, Kasich may stay on the ballot because Rome was 13 minutes past 5 o’clock delivering his objections.

The Pennsylvania law says challenges to nominating petitions must be delivered within seven days of the last day for filing. Rome filed his challenge seven days after the last day for filing nominating petitions. Filing petitions have a 5 p.m. deadline; a court now must rule if challenges have a 5 p.m. deadline as well.

“The challenge isn’t going to work,” Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf told The Washington Post. “It is a waste of Rubio’s time and effort. He should focus on trying to win his home state.” Burn!

Yesterday, Kasich’s campaign called on the Rubio campaign to drop the challenge to his inclusion on the Pennsylvania ballot. Bloomberg Politcs reports Bravacos declined to say if he’d been in contact with the campaign; his brother Chris Bravacos is chairman of Rubio’s Pennsylvania campaign. A campaign spokesman for Kasich told the site the campaign is “100 percent certain” Kasich will be on the ballot next month.

Donald Trump has also inserted himself into the fray, of course. He tweeted yesterday that Kasich should drop out of Ohio — a state he might actually win tomorrow — because of the challenge to his Pennsylvania ballot status. Kasich won’t drop out, of course, but it wouldn’t be a story about the GOP race for the nomination in 2016 without a mention of The Donald.

Kasich is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in McKees Rocks, a town just over the bridge from Pittsburgh.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.