Spin Cycle

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A mystery emerged from Thursday night's Green Party primary for Suffolk Family Court judge when it appeared than an unidentified write-in candidate had won one of the minor party's two nominations.

Green Party members cast 20 write-in votes in the primary, which would have been enough to take second place behind incumbent Democratic Family Court Judge Martha Luft who had 27 votes and enough to edge out Conservative Matthew Hughes, who is also running on the Republican line and pulled 14 Green votes.

Adding to the confusion, election officials said they could not identify who the write-ins were for or if there were one or more candidates. Those answers, officials said. would have to wait until the polling machines are returned to Yaphank and the recount starts Sept. 21.

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Clearing up the mystery later, Roger Snyder, Suffolk Green Party chairman, said some party members, as a protest, decided to write in names of judicial candidates -- Democrat Will Ford and Conservative Anthony Senft -- even though the two men were running for district court in Islip, not family court.

Snyder said the minor party staged the protest because its leaders are upset with state rules permitting all judicial candidates to run in the primaries in any political party without permission of party officials. The Green Party has a statewide policy not to cross-endorse other parties' candidates, but they can do nothing to stop judicial candidates in the parties from poaching their ballot line in a primary.