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From the Derrick:

Senior Venango County Judge H. William White ruled Friday that eight Venango County Republican Committee candidates will be permitted to amend their petitions by correcting deficiencies in the paperwork, returning them to the April 24 primary election ballot.

The court decision addressing candidates’ nomination petitions containing irregularities came three days after an all-day hearing was held Tuesday to consider the county election board’s actions in rejecting the documents.

In his ruling, White found the county election board – consisting of county Commissioners Tim Brooks, Vince Witherup and Bonnie Summers — “acted in good faith … (and) within the province of its authority” but added the board’s subsequent investigation of a complaint made about the petitions was not done in a timely way.

The judge also put to rest allegations that the petition rejections amounted to a conspiracy driven by the Venango County Tea Party Patriots and aimed at tossing out of office some GOP Committee leaders, including chairman Martha Breene. There was no credible evidence of any such conspiracy, said White.