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Appellate court affirms lower ruling in Republican primary question

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A New York State appellate court ruled it would not set a primary date for two Republicans in a race to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville), whose district covers part of Queens, and the case may be heading for federal court.

Fraud investigator Philip Pidot filed a suit in state court arguing that he had gathered enough signatures to face off against state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) in a primary race to see who would face Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi in the general election. The 3rd Congressional District seat, which includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties, Bay Terrace, Whitestone, Glen Oaks and Floral Park.

The Appellate Court affirmed the State Supreme Court’s late June decision that it was too late to include Pidot on a June 28 ballot against Martins and also ruled against setting a new primary date.

Pidot’s campaign released a statement saying that the court had affirmed that the campaign had acquired enough signatures to qualify for a ballot and said that it was likely that federal court would need to make the final decision on a new primary date. Pidot said he would file in federal court, hoping that a decision there would mandate a primary date.

“We expect that primary election to occur later this summer,” Pidot said in a statement.

In a recent interview with the TimesLedger, Martins said he did not expect a primary election and criticized Pidot for not following the regulations set by the state Board of Elections for becoming a candidate.

“The rules are very simple, but somehow thinking everyone should change their rules to accommodate you is a rather poor message to send to the public at large,” Martins said.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 6:18 pm, July 28, 2016
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