HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania third-party candidates for U.S. Senate have filed paperwork ahead of a Monday deadline to get on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, potentially making a crucial difference in the high-stakes races.
According to the Department of State, Libertarian Erik Gerhardt of Montgomery was approved to run as the Libertarian Party’s candidate.
Daniel Wassmer of Pike County was also approved to run as a representative for the Keystone Party. Wassmer previously ran as a Libertarian for Attorney General in 2020, receiving over 120,000 votes to finish third with 1.8%.
The Green Party filed for Richard Weiss of Allegheny County to be its candidate in 2022. Weiss previously ran in 2021 for one of 10 seats on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, finishing 18th with 1.9%. The year prior he ran statewide for Attorney General, finishing fourth with 1% behind Wassmer.
Pennsylvania’s threshold for third-party candidates to qualify for the ballot is 5,000 signatures of registered voters.
A Fox News poll conducted in late July showed Democrat John Fetterman was outpolling the Republican nominee, Dr. Mehmet Oz, 47% to 36%.
A third-party candidate’s draw in a general election, while usually very small, could help tilt a close race between the major party candidates.
As a result, Democrats in Pennsylvania have a history of going to court to challenge the paperwork of Green Party candidates to get them off the ballot.
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Meanwhile, Republicans in Pennsylvania have a history of going to court to challenge the paperwork of Libertarian Party candidates for the same reason.
A spokesperson for the newly formed Keystone Party said the organization was formed out of members of the Libertarian Party who felt that party was veering too hard to the right.