Hennessey residency upheld, heads to Murray rematch

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Edward Hennessey on June 27, 2014. State Supreme Edward Hennessey on June 27, 2014. State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Pitts ruled that Hennessey has a legal residence in Smith Point, despite Republican claims that the Democrat actually resides in East Moriches, outside the 3rd Assembly District. Photo Credit: James Escher

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A state judge has rejected a Republican claim that Assemb. Edward Hennessey (D-Shirley) doesn't actually live in the 3rd Assembly District, likely setting up an election rematch with Dean Murray.

State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Pitts ruled that Hennessey has a legal residence in Smith Point, dismissing Republican claims that the Democrat lives in East Moriches, outside the 3rd Assembly District.

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Hennessey edged Murray, an East Patchogue Republican, in 2012 but didn't have to live in the district at the time because lines in all legislative seats had been redrawn that year as part of a once-a-decade reapportionment. He was obligated to relocate, however, within a year.

Hennessey said he bought a house in Smith Point in 2013, through a realty company he owns, and registered to vote there. He said his family has remained in East Moriches for the time being, because he has one son still in high school.

Murray allies filed suit against Hennessey, saying he didn't really live at the Shirley address but used it as a sham to avoid violating residency requirements.

Pitts ruled in Hennessey's favor, both sides said. A court transcript wasn't immediately available.

"Dean Murray's attempt to deny voters a choice in the 3rd Assembly District has failed," said Suffolk County Democrat chairman Richard Schaffer. "It was clearly shown that Ed Hennessey is a resident who has been delivering for his community."

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Republicans haven't decided whether to appeal.

"Obviously we are disappointed that the judge ignored the mountain of evidence that shows that Ed Hennessey is deceiving the voters and that he does not live in the 3rd Assembly District," Edward Flood, Murray's campaign manager, said in an email. "However, we are confident that the voters will not ignore the facts in November and will vote accordingly."

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