Judge's Ruling Keeps Libertarian Bob Barr On PA Ballot

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania judge's ruling that keeps Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr on the ballot will force Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama to take him seriously in a key battleground state, a Barr campaign spokesman said Monday.

The major-party candidates "will have to compete for the votes of Pennsylvania citizens instead of taking them for granted," Russell Verney, Barr's campaign manager said in a statement.

The challenge to Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia who some GOP strategists fear might siphon votes from McCain, was filed by Harrisburg lawyer Victor Stabile, who also is chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Party.

Commonwealth Court Judge Johnny Butler rejected arguments that the party tricked voters by gathering signatures under another candidate's name and substituting Barr's name in August, three months after he was nominated at its national convention.

The Libertarians' intent "was to comply with the (state) election code, not to mislead Pennsylvania's voters," Butler wrote.

Butler said the original candidate, Rochelle Etzel, always understood that she would be only a placeholder and that the national party's nominee would eventually be substituted.

"Etzel took no steps to form a committee, to actively seek the office of president or to place her name on the ballot in other states," he said.

Lawyers for both sides did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

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  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Sep 16, 2008 at 04:30 AM
    It is not a 'fear' he will siphon votes from the Republicans, it is a fact. He will not siphon a single vote from a Democrat. It is much the same for Ralph Nader and the Green Party. He will only take votes from the Democrats, no Republicans are going to vote for him. There are two basic schools of thought, and everything else is a derivative of the two. Third parties will always do one thing and one thing only...siphon votes from either the Republicans or Democrats. In close contests they only serve to hurt the party to which their ideas are most closely aligned. In Bob Barr's case, he will hurt the Republicans. He has absolutely no chance of winning.

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