Water Bill Dooms Guy's Political Campaign
Water bill, other clues indicate he doesn't actually live in the district
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 24, 2017 7:33 PM CST
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images / fstop123)

(Newser) – A Democratic candidate's run for the Pennsylvania Legislature is down the drain—partly because he used too little water at the house he claimed as his residence, the AP reports. A state judge on Thursday threw Frederick Ramirez off the ballot in the race for an open House seat in Philadelphia. The judge found that low water and electric use at the house Ramirez claimed as his residence showed he really didn't live in the district. According to testimony, for 11 months he was billed for a total of about 3,000 gallons of water, or the equivalent of less than two toilet flushes a day on average. His lawyer said the low numbers, showing zero use in some months, are misleading because of how bills are calculated. Neighbors testified they never saw Ramirez on their block, the bedroom light was always on, and the home never seemed to put out trash for curbside pickup.

"The fact that there are no photographs or pictures on the walls, combined with the fact that his daughter's room is still decorated for an infant, more strongly reveals that (the) candidate is not domiciled at (the house), but merely uses that location as a convenient place to stay" when he is working at a nearby clinic he owns, wrote Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey. Ramirez's lawyer, Adam Bonin, said the property is indeed Ramirez's home. Bonin said he is considering his options, including a potential appeal. The judge's ruling leaves just one candidate on the ballot for the March 21 special election, Republican Lucinda Little, in what is an overwhelmingly Democratic district. A spokesperson for the Department of State, which oversees elections, said the agency's lawyers were examining whether Democrats are legally allowed to pick a new candidate.

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