WILLIAMSPORT - An investigation has been launched by the Lycoming County District Attorney's office into a statewide candidate's election bid.
Christopher Bain, 40, of Williamsport, whose nominating petitions recently were thrown out by a state court, now is being probed for forging signatures on the papers.
According to an affidavit, an investigation revealed that 35 people whose names appeared on Bain's nominating petitions for the primary election claimed they did not actually sign those documents.
Bain, a Republican candidate for the 83rd state House seat, circulated the petitions earlier this year in order to get at least 300 names signed to the papers.
However, he fell short of the required signatures after his petitions were challenged in state court.
Signatures were nullified by the court for various reasons.
Some names were thrown out when it was found addresses did not match those in voter registration records. Others were found to be duplicates and two others were nullified because the names were printed rather than signed.
Although Bain's name was removed from the ballot in the primary, he is staging a write-in candidacy.
Since that time, county investigators interviewed 35 people whose names appeared on petitions but claimed they did not sign their names to them, according to the affidavit.
A search warrant was filed through the office of District Judge Allen Page III. During the subsquent search of Bain's home on Wednesday, various documents were seized that are believed to be pertinent to the investigation.
"There's nothing wrong," Bain said. "I didn't forge anything."
No criminal charges have been filed, and the matter remains under investigation.
The affidavit noted investigators talked to Bain at his home March 22.
At the time, Bain indicated he did not personally circulate the petitions with the signatures in question, nor did he know who did. He told investigators they had been left inside his door and he later had the petitions notarized.
Six of 13 nomination petitions were circulated by Bain and one by his wife, Misty Bain, according to the affidavit. The remaining six were circulated by others on behalf of the candidate.
Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt made it clear the matter remains under investigation and Bain has not been charged.
He refused further comment.
Bain is being investigated for forgery, false swearing, tampering with public records and obstruction of justice.
"Everybody knows I stand on my integrity," Bain said. "I'm a standup guy. What you see is what you get."
Bain's Republican opponent is Harry Rogers.
State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, is the incument and faces no opposition in the primary.