It's taken a a while, but the 2010 races are getting testier by the day*. The latest -- in the Dem gubernatorial race -- is Dan Onorato's camp challenging Joe Hoeffel's petition signatures, a move JH's people are calling "cowardly." From their press release:

Democrat Joe Hoeffel's campaign for governor of Pennsylvania today called fellow Democrat Dan Onorato's challenge of Hoeffel's nominating petitions a "cowardly act" that "clearly shows Onorato is scared and he has turned desperate."

Persons acting on behalf of Onorato Tuesday filed suit in Commonwealth Court seeking to challenge a sufficient number of Hoeffel's signatures to have him removed from the ballot.

Lauren Townsend, co-manager of the Hoeffel campaign issued the following statement:

"We filed petitions with 7,632 signatures from 33 counties, and we had more than 100 signatures on petitions from 15 counties."  (Law requires gubernatorial candidates to have at least 2,000 signatures in total and have at least 100 signatures from 10 counties.)  "That is nearly four times what was required to get on the primary ballot.

"We have verified that we have a sufficient number of signatures to meet the requirements of gubernatorial candidates to get on the ballot. We didn't pay anybody to get petition signatures.  Staff and volunteers did all of the hard work.  Everything was checked out.  We are totally confident that our petitions are good.

"Joe Hoeffel is the best candidate with the best ideas.  We've got the poll numbers to prove it, and Mr. Onorato probably does, too.  Dan Onorato has good reason to be scared, and now he has turned desperate.  This is a cowardly act.  Throughout this campaign Mr. Onorato has tried to bully candidates, and now the bully has blinked."

* Or we should say, they're catching up with the nastiness of Specter/Sestak, Burns/Russell and Critz/Hafer.

-- Timothy McNulty

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