by Quin, copied, with some updates, from NRO’s The Corner;
Leave it to New York state Republicans to botch another congressional race. Leave it to New York Republicans to try to win through apparently corrupt use of muscle rather than fair and square at the ballot box. [The June 23] Daily Caller and The Lid have the story.
The short version: A businessman well known to conservative bloggers, Flip Pidot, is trying to run for Congress in the state’s 3rd District, a seat now held by retiring Democrat Steve Israel. It is a reasonably predictably, but not overwhelmingly, Democratic-leaning seat. The GOP machine candidate is Jack Martins, an ally of Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo. Pidot filed enough petitions to get on the primary ballot. Some of those petitions were challenged. Pidot won that challenge. But the challenge left him short of time to get the certified petitions to Albany, so he filed them, pursuant to Board of Election directives, elsewhere. Martins’ allies challenged them again, saying they had been mis-filed. Eventually — last Friday — the state’s highest court ruled in Pidot’s favor (denying his opponents’ “application” and reinstating Pidot’s ballot “petition”), and asked the lower court to dispose of the case accordingly. But Martins’ allies have filed dilatory motions ever since, and [the lower court ruled that although his petitions were valid, it would defer to the elections board in saying that it was too late to put Pidot on the June 28 primary ballot. Subsequently, “Federal District Judge Joseph Bianco on Wednesday allowed Pidot’s request to set a new date for a Republican primary in the Third Congressional District to move forward, scheduling oral arguments in the case for July 11, court records show.” In other words, the federal judge will hear arguments about whether he should order a special primary election.]
Oh — and as the other sources have noted, Pidot’s opponents operate from the same political machine whose boss, Dean Skelos, recently was sentenced to five years in the pokey in a corruption trial. ….
Ballot access rules exist not as a malleable barrier to be exploited to keep candidates off the ballot, but as regulators to make sure that those who qualify are, well, yes, at least minimally qualified. When party officials and machine-backed judges use those rules as a political weapon rather than as a neutral arbiter, representative government is subverted. From a distance, it certainly looks as if that’s what’s happening here. It’s disgusting, and, unless there is some huge factor weighing against Pidot’s petitions that I have missed, the denial of his ballot access is an abuse that should not stand.