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3rd AD: GOP goes to court against Hennessey, on residency

Edward Hennessey on June 27, 2014.

Edward Hennessey on June 27, 2014. (Credit: James Escher)

Suffolk Republicans have gone to court claiming that freshman Assemb. Edward Hennessey does not live in his district but rather still resides in East Moriches.

Hennessey won an upset victory two years ago, but did not have to live in the Third Assembly district at the time because lines in all legislative seats were redrawn that year as part of a once-a-decade reapportionment.

Hennessey declined to comment on the lawsuit, but earlier said he registered to vote in the district Sept. 30, 2012 -- nine months after he was elected. He'd said he bought a house in Smith Point, which some maps list as Shirley. Hennessey said the house was bought in April 2013 for $248,500 by East Point Realty in Shirley, which he says he owns.

Hennessey said his family roots in Shirley go back to the 1940s, but said his family remains in East Moriches for the time being, because he has one son who has one more year to graduate from high school.

Announcing the legal action, Brookhaven Town Republican chairman Jesse Garcia charged: "For two years, we have said that Ed Hennessey has continued to live in his family home in East Moriches, within the 1st Assembly District, while falsely purporting to live in a rental home less than 10 miles away in Shirley. Putting this Shirley address on a nominating petition and filing it, however, now elevates this from a lie to a crime, if it is proven he still lives with his wife and children in East Moriches."

The lawsuit is just one of a number of battles over elibigility of Suffolk candidates who filed nominating petitions little more than a week ago. Senate Democrats, who are backing Adrienne Esposito, are challenging the petitions of Brentwood attorney Joseph Fritz, who is waging a party primary against the environmentalist from Patchogue. Fritz earlier challenged Esposito’s candidacy claiming Richard Schaffer did not properly file papers needed to authorize her ballot place as a nonparty member.

Assemb. Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) has also challenged the petitions of his primary challenger Giovanni Mata, while Victoria Speyer, who is running on the GOP line, has challenged Ramos’ petitions for Independence Party ballot line. There are also petition challenges pending for Huntington district court judgeships, and Conservative committee spots in several towns.

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