Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph James has rejected challenges to the nominating petitions of State Representative Jake Wheatley (D-Pittsburgh) and another candidate in the Democratic Primary for the District 19 House seat, Mark Brentley. Former Pittsburgh Councilwoman Tonya Payne sought to have Wheatley and Brentley removed from the ballot for insufficient proper signatures.
But Judge James ruled that Payne should have filed her complaint in Commonwealth Court. Payne is alleging some of the signatures gathered for Wheatley by his former chief of staff Robert Daniel Lavelle were forged. Now a councilman, Lavelle defeated Payne in the 2009 Primary.