Johnson to appeal ruling of Martins victory

Craig Johnson will appeal a ruling that named

Craig Johnson will appeal a ruling that named Jack Martins the winner of the 7th State Senate District. (Credit: NY State Senate)

Democratic State Sen. Craig Johnson of Port Washington filed a notice of appeal Monday of a judge's ruling certifying Republican Jack Martins as the winner of the election in the 7th State Senate District, his attorney said.

"We are optimistic that justice will be served on appeal," attorney Steven Schlesinger said. Schlesinger had argued in state Supreme Court that a hand count of all 85,000 ballots was needed to unearth Johnson votes that were missed by the new electronic voting machines.

But Justice Ira Warshawsky certified Martins as the winner in a court session Saturday, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to show that a hand count would find enough uncounted Johnson ballots to affect the outcome.

The judge's ruling came about 24 hours after the Nassau County Board of Election said its final tally was 42,942 votes for Martins, and 42,491 for Johnson, a margin of 451 votes.

Barring a Johnson victory on appeal, Republicans will control the Senate 32-30 when it convenes its new session on Jan. 5. In the only other closely contested Senate race, Republican challenger Robert Cohen conceded Monday to Democratic incumbent Suzi Oppenheimer in the 37th District in Westchester County.

In Suffolk, the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop and Randy Altschuler each agreed Monday to withdraw 40 challenged absentee ballots, and when elections officials counted the 80 ballots, Bishop (D-Southampton) netted three votes, the campaigns said.

Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider set the four-term incumbent's margin at 274 votes. Altschuler spokesman Rob Ryan said Bishop leads by 267 votes.

Schneider said the difference comes from Bishop's team counting 39 objections to ballots filed by Altschuler that State Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Mayer dismissed. Ryan said he could not comment about the Bishop campaign's numbers.

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