Republicans backing Philadelphia Councilman Brian O’Neill think they’ve got enough evidence to get potential Democratic challenger Gary Masino disqualified from the upcoming primary ballot, claiming more than 1,500 of the 1,900 signatures Masino turned in on a candidate petition aren’t up to legal snuff.

But an attorney for Masino, a union leader, called the research “shoddy” and predicted a quick court victory over the challenges. A hearing is set for Friday.

While petition challenges at this point in the city’s election cycle aren’t unusual, the Republican attorneys and supporters say a closer look at Masino’s petition submission and also parts of his resume illustrate just how serious a hurdle he may be facing.

Attorneys Vito Canuso Jr. and Matt Wolfe, both Republicans, filed actions against Masino earlier this week, hoping to push the number of valid signatures on Masino’s petition below 750, the number needed to qualify.

As one example, two pages of the petitions filed are nearly identical containing the same signers, with the minor exception of the order of a couple of names being slightly rearranged. Each page lists five names from persons with the last name of Rose on Kendrick Street, three persons with the last name Adorno on Chalfont St., and two other individuals who appear on both pages. The addresses match from page to page as well.

(Editor’s note: Each of the pages shown below were a part of the overall submission by Masino’s campaign. Broad + Liberty has reviewed the unredacted versions of these pages which are public record. We are, however, redacting the numerical address information.)

The O’Neill camp also says one Democratic ward leader in the city was the petition circulator on approximately 80 percent of all the signature sheets, a feat they claim would be a physical impossibility for one person given the swath of territory needed to be covered over the course of dates indicated on the petitions.

The supporters also pointed to a signature from a Ms. Kathleen Warner, saying that the Pennsylvania Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors showed the Ms. Warner at that address passing away in 2019.

The Masino camp used that claim to counterpunch.

“Despite her mother passing away, Kathleen Warner (age 57) is very much alive and living at that address,” Adam Bonin, attorney for Masino, said. “Neither you nor your readers should believe something just because a Republican claimed it to be true, and if the rest of their so-called ‘research’ is this shoddy it will be a very short hearing. We will save the remainder of our arguments for the court, and Gary looks forward to defeating Mr. O’Neill in November.”

In another case, one person with the last name Donnelly appears to have signed the petition no fewer than eight times. (Editor’s note: the pages in this supporting documentation have been culled and resequenced from the original. These pages are not sequential in the original petition documents submitted.)

Outside of the petition issues, the filings against Masino also claim he has failed to meet the city’s residency requirements, in particular, that a candidate must have been a resident for a continuous year prior to the election.

As recently as last year, Masino was a board member to the Pennsylvania Convention Center as a representative appointed for Bucks County.

Bonin told the Inquirer Masino resigned when the discrepancy was raised. 

The Republican attorneys, however, say this doesn’t wash. They point to a directory for the convention authority showing Masino using a Bucks County address in Langhorne. They believe using that address proves Masino knew he had to be a Bucks resident in order to serve in that position.

Masino is the business manager for the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 19. Because of his labor position, he has also served as board member to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

O’Neill’s attorneys say this is yet another problem. State law governing that board says, “No member of the board during his period of service as such shall hold any other office under the law of this Commonwealth or of the United States,” yet Masino was on the convention center board at the same time in an apparent conflict.

O’Neill, currently the only Republican on City Council, was first elected to that office in 1979. He represents the 10th District, which covers most of Far Northeast Philadelphia and is the only section of the city with significant populations of Republican voters.

Four years ago, O’Neill faced Democrat Judy Moore; he won with 54 percent of the vote, the closest district council race that year. 

Kyle Sammin contributed to this report.

Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at, or use his encrypted email at @shepherdreports

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