A Dauphin County judge has tossed two independent candidates from Harrisburg's mayoral race.
The ruling Thursday by Judge Bernard Coates Jr. removed candidates Nevin Mindlin and Nate Curtis from the November 5 ballot, leaving a two-way race between Democratic nominee Eric Papenfuse and Republican nominee Dan Miller.
Coates wrote that Mindlin in his nomination papers failed to name a committee that would be authorized his vacancy should he become unable to seek office, a requirement under Pennsylvania law.
Curtis, the judge ruled, is ineligible to run because he did not live in the city for at least a year before the election, as required by the Third Class City Code.
Curtis, a political newcomer, moved to Harrisburg in April after a deployment to Afghanistan with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. He previously lived in Mechanicsburg.
He said in a statement that he is disappointed in the judge's ruling and is undecided on whether he will appeal.
Mindlin, who ran four years ago as a Republican and lost to Linda Thompson, is free to run for mayor by write-in campaign, but his nomination papers must be set aside, Coates wrote.
Mindlin issued a statement in which he said he is considering an appeal.
“I have hundreds of supporters who believe I speak for them and who have confidence that I will provide strong, honest and accountable leadership for the City of Harrisburg,” he said in the statement. “They want me to succeed and I want them to be assured that I will stay involved.”
Miller, the city controller, said last week he would not accept the GOP nomination, but changed his mind a few days later because of the legal challenges against Curtis and Miller.
His spokesman, Chuck Ardo, said Miller believes “campaigns are about choices and that voters would have been better served had they been allowed to make the choice themselves.”
Papenfuse, a book store owner, said in a statement that his campaign welcomes the judge's decision, and that he is ready to focus on the November election.
Coates also ruled that Jennifer Smallwood, an independent candidate for City Controller, must be removed from the November ballot because she also failed to name a committee that would be authorized to fill any vacancy.