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State Senate campaigns are trading charges over Democrats’ attempt to create an alternate ballot line called the “Women’s Equality Party.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo began the push for the ballot line as a way to contrast his views on abortion and other issues with Republican rival Rob Astorino. Democrats running for legislative offices around the state have circulated petitions to join Cuomo on the “Women’s Equality” line.
Republicans have challenged the validity of the petitions in numerous areas, saying the documents are filled with irregularities and fraudulent information. On Long Island, the GOP has challenged the petitions in four key races, asking a court to disqualify them.
Democrats are trying to make the case that the petition challenge shows Republicans are trying to “disenfranchise” women.
?"The Senate Republicans and their Long Island candidates have not only taken the anti-choice extremist Conservative Party, they are now trying to kick candidates off the Women's Equality line,” said Mike Murphy, spokesman for the Senate Democrats. “This outrageous attack and attempt to disenfranchise thousands of Long Island women shows why we need to elect more Democrats to the Senate."
The Republicans’ view?
"The New York City Democrats are playing politics again because they know they submitted hundreds upon hundreds of invalid signatures from people who don't live in the district where they signed or aren't even registered to vote in the first place,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif. “In some cases, we've seen complete pages of signatures from New York City residents turned in for Senate districts here on Long Island. That's illegal. The simple fact is that no one will fight harder for women's equality than Senate Republicans, but this isn't about that -- it's about following the law. Democrats didn't do it."
The Long Island races at issue are:
- Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) vs. Democrat Adam Haber.
- Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) vs. Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy, a Republican running on the Democratic line.
- Republican Tom Croci, Islip supervisor, vs. environmental activist Adrienne Esposito, running on the Democratic line.
- Democrat Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg vs. Republican Nassau County Legis. Michael Venditto.