Last Man Standing
Sometimes you can win a fight at the weigh in.
Three weeks ago, Tony Payton was one of four candidates seeking to replace the ancient, absent and ineffective Bill Rieger as state rep in North Philadelphia’s 179th District.
Today, he is the last man standing.
The Democratic Party’s handpicked candidate was Emilio Vazquez, a protégé of Carlos Matos of Marge Tartaglione’s political clan. Vazquez filed suits challenging the nominating petitions of Payton, Rodnell Griffin and Walter Gnoza, saying they failed to get the required 300 voter signatures. The courts tossed Griffin and Gnoza off the ballot, but Payton won his case.
In turn, Payton sued Vazquez, saying he failed to correctly fill out his ethics disclosure form. To cite one example, Vazquez, who works at the Philadelphia Parking Authority, failed to list the PPA as a source of income. This is dumber than dumb, especially given recent court cases on this issue. The court tossed Vazquez off the ballot. There is a Republican running, but the last Republican to win in this district was Herbert Hoover.
Payton will be 25 in January, 2006, when he is sworn in as a member of the Pennsylvania House. He’s a resident of Frankford, a housing counselor with United Communities and activist in progressive political causes. He’s also a student at Community College of Philadelphia and is due to graduate in the spring, 2007.