Nassau County Democrats and their counterparts in Long Beach have filed dueling legal challenges in the mounting battle between the two party chairmen.
The challenges, submitted last week to the Nassau County Board of Elections, are to be heard in Nassau County Supreme Court during several hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.
County party leader Jay Jacobs is seeking to invalidate petitions submitted by the Long Beach Democratic Committee for seats that elect the committee chairman.
Long Beach Democratic chairman Michael Zapson filed a counter challenge seeking to defend his nominees and dismiss Jacobs' new slate of candidates for City Council -- including Nassau Community College professor Anissa Moore and former firefighter Dave Yolinsky, who have filed petitions for a Sept. 10 primary.
Zapson is standing by the current slate of Long Beach City Council candidates, including incumbent Len Torres and candidate Karen Adamo, who were nominated by the Nassau Democrats during the county Democratic convention in May.
Both Zapson and Jacobs have placed Councilman Anthony Eramo on their separate tickets. Eramo did not return calls for comment.
Jacobs' court filing seeks to disqualify several Long Beach committee members. Jacobs' challenge alleges Zapson included forged or fraudulent signatures in his petitions and that a contingent of Long Beach residents are unhappy with the committee's leadership.
"The fight in Long Beach was initiated locally, by Democrats who want to oust Mike Zapson and replace him with ethical political leadership," Nassau County Democratic spokeswoman Bonnie Garone said. "We stepped in to help because we think they're right."
Zapson said he is confident in Long Beach's base and that Jacobs is trying to inject outside influences into city politics. He added that the city's committee has collected thousands of signatures for Torres, Adamo and Eramo for the primary.
"Jay is not concerned with fighting Republicans. He's worried about fighting Democrats, and that's why he hasn't had success in elections," Zapson said.
Nassau County Democrats have challenged petitions based on signatures and questions about registered voter addresses. Jacobs' camp has accused Zapson of misusing the party for his personal gain.
"We are comfortable letting the process play out, and are confident that at the end of the day, Mike Zapson's reign in Long Beach will be over," Garone said.