18 The QUEE NS Courier • july 14, 2016 for breaking news visit www.qns.com CAMPAIGN 2016 Inside the GOP primary problem While Democrats running for vacating Congressman Steve Israel’s seat coalesced around former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi just days after the June 28 primaries, the Republicans aren’t singing the same lyrical kumbaya. That’s probably because the Republican primary did not occur, even though there are still, technically, two candidates: state Senator Jack Martins and Investigator Philip “Flip” Pidot. The controversy stems from a series of election law objections whereby supporters of Senator Jack Martins’ campaign tried to unsuccessfully invalidate Pidot’s candidacy by challenging the validity of his nominating petitions. Though unsuccessful, the legal maneuvering took so long that the Board of Elections had no time to prepare for a Republican primary, nor were compelled to work overtime to ensure that there would be a primary. Now candidate Pidot is firing back with vengeance. After filing and winning a State Supreme Court case, as well as a Queens Politics & More BY MIKE FRICCHIONE federal lawsuit to run a primary against Senator Martins, the pair of Republicans are still battling it out in court through the lengthy appeals process. The Pidot camp is claiming, and maybe rightly so, that 150,000 Long Island and Queens Republican voters were denied their Constitutional right to an election. In a statement, Pidot spokesman Bill O’Reilly said, “Clearly Martins expects a late summer primary; why else would he file yet another lawsuit trying to prevent one? But the greater question here — the question that voters need to ask themselves — is why is Jack Martins so afraid to face Republican voters?” The answer may not be that Senator Martins is afraid to face Republican voters, but rather was hoping to avoid the heavy raising and spending of campaign dollars, like the Democrats did. Suozzi, for example, spent approximately $400,000 on his primary campaign, while Martins spent less than a quarter of that figure on his own operating expenses during the same period of time. Now, it seems perhaps Martins is questioning why he didn’t welcome the challenge, as the Republican primary will likely be dragged out for at least another month, if not longer. Photo via Facebook/Tom Suozzi Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (center), the Democratic nominee for the Third Congressional District seat, with his former primary rivals (from left to right) Steve Stern, Jon Kaiman, Anna Kaplan and Jonathan Charles Clarke. Dems rally around Suozzi for Congress, but GOP is mired in a primary problem BY ROBERT POZARYCKI email@example.com/@robbpoz After a contentious primary, Democrats have united around their party’s nominee to succeed Steve Israel in Congress, but the Republican side of the campaign seems anything but solidified. Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who bested four other candidates in last month’s Democratic primary, formally received Congressman Israel’s endorsement on July 11 in the race to fill the Third Congressional District seat, which covers parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Glen Oaks, Little Neck, North Shore Towers, Whitestone and northern Nassau and northwestern Suffolk counties. Israel, who previously supported Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern in the primary, said Suozzi has the skills needed to succeed in Washington, calling him “the best candidate to continue my relentless fight in Congress for New York’s middle-class families, veterans and seniors.” “Tom has also proven that he is the type of representative we need in Washington,” Israel added, “someone who will bring big and bold ideas to the table and have the courage and political skill to solve problems.” The announcement came less than two weeks after Stern and the three other Democratic candidates for Congress — former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and attorney Jonathan Charles Clarke — endorsed Suozzi following the primary. Suozzi said the endorsement from the incumbent congressman “means a lot to me” and he thanked Israel “for all he’s done for our district and our families.” “Steve Israel is a true national leader with a fantastic legacy of tackling national issues while never forgetting his local constituents,” Suozzi said. “I have big shoes to fill, and I will work my hardest to be worthy.” Suozzi is in line to face the presumptive Republican nominee, state Senator Jack Martins of Nassau County, but the GOP candidate finds himself in a legal battle with a challenger who was thrown off the GOP primary ballot. Philip Pidot had enough signatures on his petition to make the Republican primary ballot, but Martins successfully challenged the petition in court. Pidot was disqualified, leaving Martins as the last Republican standing in the race — and the GOP with no reason to hold a June 28 primary. The State Supreme Court, however, overruled the original ruling, but it was too late for the June 28 primary to be held. Since then, the Pidot and Martins camps have been duking it out in the courts, with Pidot seeking a new Republican primary date and Martins looking to put the whole issue to rest and focus his attention on the general election. With each side filing court motions against the other, both camps also traded rather personal barbs through campaign statements on July 12. “A perennial fringe candidate who has spent weeks spewing lies and spinning outrageous conspiracy theories about why there was no Republican primary voluntarily withdrew his meritless federal court action the same day we filed our response,” said E. O’Brien Murray, a senior advisor to Martins, of Pidot’s latest legal maneuver. “His actions confirm what we have said all along — he has been needlessly delaying this process in an effort to help Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.” “Clearly Martins expects a late summer primary; why else would he file yet another lawsuit trying to prevent one?” said Bill O’Reilly, Pidot’s spokesman, in response to the Martins campaign filing another motion challenging Pidot’s petition. “But the greater question here ... is why is Jack Martins so afraid to face Republican voters? What about his record in Albany is he unable to defend?” The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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