Babette Josephs, a Democratic incumbent in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, has been accused of violating campaigning rules. The non-partisan good government organization Committee of Seventy released a report including a complaint that Josephs, a House Representative for for 27 years, has been caught campaigning inside a polling place. Regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement will remember that Josephs is being challenged by rising political star Brian Sims, who stands to become the first openly gay member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Three of six openly LGBT candidates currently running, including Brian Sims, face a primary vote today.
Philadelphia Weekly reports today:
Earlier Today, the Committee of Seventy sent out their Election Day report with complaints they’ve been receiving. One of which was about Josephs possibly violating campaign rules.
“A voter just called to complain that Babette Josephs, who is fighting to keep her House seat, was inside the 8th ward/3rd division and said to him: “I know I’m not supposed to be doing this, but please vote for me, Babette Josephs,” the Seventy report said. Unless they have a valid poll watcher’s certificate, candidates are not permitted to enter a polling place except to cast their own vote,” the good government watchdog wrote. The tipster claimed she said this to other voters as well.
Josephs’ campaign denies the allegation in full. “There is no truth to that allegation. Babette does have a poll watcher’s certificate and she is shaking hands outside of polling places today,” said campaign spokesman Dave Scholnick. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Babette was inside this particular polling place since it’s where she votes.”
He then alleged that the filer of the complaint may have very well been a Sims supporter, though there is no evidence to back that up.
The Sims campaign responded almost immediately.
“State Rep. Babette Josephs, who is desperately fighting to hold on against a challenge from Brian Sims, has reported been campaigning inside of a polling place,” they wrote, noting the Seventy release.
Sims campaign manager Matt Goldfine stated, “To willing [sic] neglect the rules and knowingly admit to doing so shows how desperate Rep. Josephs has gotten. When the Minority Chair of the State Government Committee, which oversees laws relating to campaigns and elections, is campaigning inside the polls, it’s a sad day.”
Of course, to many following the campaign, this hardly comes as a surprise. Brian was the victim of a vicious, lying smear campaign falsely linking him to right wing racist and sexist laws. Additionally, Josephs carefully uses the word “supporters” on her campaign site rather than “endorsements;” curiously under her supporters she lists two organization, the Liberty City Democrats and the Philadelphia Gay News, which actually endorse Sims.
More on this breaking story as it develops.
J. Rudy Flesher, a Philadelphia based actor and author, holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, and is an award-winning feminist scholar. Ze blogs here and at The Pistol in Bed Thirteen, works with PhinLi Bookings to connect LGBTQ and sex positive talent with audiences, and is currently writing hir first book, an essay collection on the daily experiences of a genderqueer life. Ze will also be published in the forthcoming anthology “Beyond Masculinity.”
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