Republican congressional challenger Philip Pidot filed a last-minute federal lawsuit Monday in an attempt to force a new Republican primary date so he can challenge state Sen. Jack Martins for retiring Rep. Steve Israel’s 3rd District seat.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco ordered that a conference be held Tuesday in Central Islip on Pidot’s effort to bar Martins’ certification as the Republican nominee. Bianco said no temporary restraining order is necessary because there would not be irreparable harm related to the general election in November.
Pidot filed the lawsuit after State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Diamond found that Pidot had more than the minimum 1,250 signatures to qualify for the ballot. But that appeals process took so long that it was impossible for the state board of elections to go forward with a GOP primary Tuesday.
Pidot in his court papers said that without an order for a new GOP primary date, he “will be denied his right to appear on the Republican primary ballot and thousands of registered and eligible Republican voters in the district will be effectively disenfranchised.”
E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ spokesman, said the campaign has not received any legal papers on the suit.
Murray said Pidot has himself to blame for delaying his challenge.
“He’s wasting the taxpayers’ money and the court time because he does not think the rules apply to him,” said Murray.
Pidot backers say Martins’ attorneys dragged out court proceedings.