‘Occupy’ Candidate Nathan Kleinman Withdraws from Ballot
Nathan Kleinman, a member of Occupy Philly and congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 13th District, faced perhaps the largest hurdle in his run against Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz this morning. Schwartz recently challenged Kleinman’s 1,500+ signatures to get on the ballot and a hearing was held today to hear Kleinman’s motion to dismiss the challenge.
Representing himself, Kleinman argued in Commonwealth Court that he was not properly served legal papers by Schwartz’s people. That motion was denied.
He now says instead of going through with months of court proceedings, he will withdraw from the ballot and run as a write-in candidate.
“I withdrew my application when it became apparent that the court was not going to accept my motion to dismiss the case,” Kleinman tells PW, adding that if the people of the 13th District want him in office, “Democrats will write my name in, and I’m confident I can win this race as a write-in candidate.”
He says his campaign cannot handle the legal fees or the time constraint being in court would have presented.
“It’s more worth my time to focus on actually helping people and listening to voters’ problems, going to community meetings, feeding the homeless and doing all the things that I do on a daily basis, rather than go to court,” Kleinman says.
In addition to his work with Occupy, Kleinman is a human rights activist and recently worked on the campaign of former Congressman Joe Sestak and as a legal assistant to Pennsylvania State Rep. Josh Shapiro.
He told reporters this morning that the write-in campaign is more “the Occupy way to go, anyway.”
Today’s hearing is not the end of the ordeal, though. Kleinman claims the Schwartz campaign is now making motions against him. “They’re trying to get me to pay their legal fees,” he says. Kleinman adds that’s “the most shocking part of the whole affair.” He notes it’s ironic the Schwartz campaign wants him to pay their legal fees when they have more than $2 million in their campaign bank account. Kleinman made a point when he began running that he would not accept any corporate donations.
Schwartz’ office confirmed as much. “It’s a legal option for the campaign to request that Nate Kleinman pay legal fees,” says Rachel Magnuson, Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s Chief of Staff. “Judge Friedman [the judge who heard the case this morning] agreed to consider that. We have not made a decision of whether we will pursue that option or not, but it is an option that the judge is willing to consider.”