Jay Paterno drops out of Pennsylvania lieutenant governor race

Jay Paterno, son of Joe Paterno, pauses during his speech during a public memorial for former Penn State Football coach Joe Paterno at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State, January 26, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Paterno, who was 85, died due to complications from lung cancer on January 22, 2012. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A little more than a month after announcing that he will run for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, Jay Paterno has already dropped out of the race.

Paterno, the son of late Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, opted to drop out of the Democratic race Friday due to a legal challenge he faced with the petitions he filed with state election officials to become an official candidate.

“This afternoon I am announcing my intent to withdraw from the Lt. Governor’s race. Over the past twenty-four hours in talking with attorneys it has become clear that the ballot challenge could be a long process with potential decisions and appeals carrying beyond Monday’s hearing,” Paterno said in a statement.

Paterno, who was an assistant on his father’s staff from 1995-2011, was one of six candidates hoping to join the Democratic gubernatorial nominee on the ticket.

“With less than two months remaining before the primary I do not want an ongoing legal back and forth to be a distraction in this race. The outcome of this election is too important for the future of the working families and all the people of this Commonwealth,” Paterno said.

According to the Allentown Morning Call, Paterno’s petitions were challenged by Harrisburg Councilman Brad Koplinski.

“Paterno was a first-time candidate who joined the race late, who, despite his best effort, was unable to meet the sometime-confusing requirements necessary to be certified,” Koplinski said in a statement.

The 45-year-old Paterno had prior experience in politics by assisting the campaign of Barack Obama in 2008 and Joe Biden in 2012. When he declared his bid, he declared that he could bring “visionary leadership” to the state capitol in Harrisburg.

“While I have always believed that you fight for what is right, there are times in life when personal ambitions should give way for the good of the whole. To that end I am stepping away,” Paterno said. “I thank everyone who has supported our campaign. I know we entered this race late and I alone bear responsibility for that and for any shortcomings in our efforts.”

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