A Democrat who is leaving the party to become a Republican has successfully forced a Sept. 10 Democratic primary in the Schenectady County Legislature race after a challenge of her petition was dropped.
County Democrats withdrew their challenge of Lisa Dufek’s petition Friday shortly after the matter was heard in state Supreme Court.
“They failed in their effort to keep me off the ballot in September, so now the people will have a choice to pick someone who stands for their voice and not a handpicked person for the party bosses,” said Dufek, a Republican-endorsed candidate from Rotterdam.
Dufek is a registered Democrat, but plans to register as a Republican after the November election.
She and incumbent Brian McGarry, a Republican, are seeking two four-year seats in District 4, which covers Rotterdam, Princetown and Duanesburg. They are challenging Chairman Anthony Jasenski and Nancy Casso, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidates.
“There was some newly discovered evidence that was presented that morning that we hadn’t seen before, so in light of that we decided to withdraw,” said County Democratic Chairman Joe Landry.
The county’s Democratic and Republican Board of Elections commissioners split on the Democrats’ initial challenge of Dufek’s petition, leading Landry to bring the court action. The board ruled Tuesday, July 21, that 529 of her 550 signatures were legitimate. She needed 418 to force a primary.
The suit made several claims, including that the petitions had fraudulent dates and forged signatures and were not sequentially numbered, and that more than one signature appeared in the same handwriting.
It also alleged that Dufek failed to include her place of residence, Rotterdam, in the statement-of-witness section at the bottom of the petition forms containing 312 signatures she collected herself.
“But my name and address is all over the petition,” Dufek said.
Michael Ceuvas, the Republican attorney who represented her in court, called the action “frivolous.”
“We also would have had an opportunity to request attorney’s fees, because there was no basis in fact or law for them to bring this proceeding,” he said.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County