It's a heartwarming image -- Greens and Republicans working side by side.
Short of hands to help review thousands of contested signatures as part of the ongoing court battle between Democrats and Green Senate candidate Carl Romanelli, the Pennsylvania Green Party is getting some help from volunteers from Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-PA) campaign.
To resolve Democrats' charges that most of the Greens' 100,000 signatures are invalid, a judge ordered that volunteers from both parties work side by side to establish whether they could agree on the validity of the signatures. The Department of State set up 9 computer terminals for the effort; at each station, a Democratic volunteer was to be paired with a Green volunteer. The effort is expected to take weeks.
But earlier this week, the Greens found themselves short of volunteers. So Republicans have arrived to help fill the gap. It's only natural: since GOP supporters paid for the Green signature drive, and Santorum volunteers helped collect the signatures, they have a vested interest in seeing this through to the end.
And they're not shy about it. This morning's sign-in sheet at the court shows two names, Ben Irwin and Brian Hunt, who identify their organization as "GOP - Santorum '06." All the other volunteers identified themselves as either with the Green Party or the Democratic Party, the two parties in the suit.
Yesterday, at least two of the volunteers were sent by Greg Rothman, a Santorum supporter. Rothman, who runs a real estate firm, told me that he'd asked "a couple college interns" to go "help out if they could." Rothman, who's given $2,000 to Santorum this election cycle, wouldn't tell me who'd asked him for the help.
Lawrence Otter, the lawyer for Green candidate Carl Romanelli, said he didn't know the party affiliation of those who showed up to help with the recount effort. âI donât ask," he told me. "Why should I?â