Two political candidates in Bucks County are set to duke it out in court.
A petition filed this week in Bucks County Court asks that incumbent Sheriff Edward “Duke” Donnelly be removed from the ticket because his nickname implies he's royalty.
Rival candidate Tom Lingenfelter says having Donnelly's nickname on the ballot violates state and federal constitutional bans on granting titles of nobility.
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Lingenfelter also says it'll cause “voter confusion” and that “Duke” does not appear on Donnelly's voter registration card.
Donnelly, who took office in 2003, tells the Bucks County Courier Times that he's mystified by the election challenge. He says he's had the nickname since childhood and that it's appeared on the ballot several times over the last decade.
“I’ve always been called that,” he told the Courier Times. “When I was a kid, my dad was ‘big Duke’ and I was ‘little Duke.’
“I never really thought of myself as coming from royalty,” Donnelly added. “But then, maybe Mr. Lingenfelter knows something I don’t know about my family.”
On the county website, Donnelly doesn't use the "Duke" moniker in his "Message from the Sheriff."
Lingenfelter told the Courier Times that this is a serious complaint.
“It’s about following the election laws that I’ve been forced to follow.”