Meehan, Lentz locked in court battle over nominating petitions

An attorney for Pennsylvania Republican Pat Meehan's campaign filed a motion to dismiss the challenge to his nominating petitions Thursday.

"Their petition to strike the nominating papers is devoid of any merit," said James Colins, a lawyer representing the Meehan campaign. "They're doing this to get some free publicity."

Four Republicans want Meehan's name removed from the primary ballot on account of "outright pattern of impropriety in the signatures, addresses, and dates" of his 3,623 signers, according to their petition.

A spokesman for state Rep. Bryan Lentz, Meehan's likely Democratic opponent, said the challenge would expose the Republican's "forgery and fraud."

Colins said the case could take two-to-three weeks to resolve. "I expect that when the court actually holds a hearing we'll win, but we may win on procedural groups before then," he said.

In the meantime, he added, "the candidates keep campaigning, the lawyers keep litigating."

Challenging an opponent's nominating petitions is a common tactic but it has been used increasingly in Pennsylvania this cycle, observers said.

Updated at 5:31 p.m.