The Hempstead Democratic Party has a primary for town
supervisor coming up on Sept. 9. Sort of.
Although the ballot lists two candidates, only one is running.
In the primary, Democrats will choose between Dorothy Goosby of Hempstead
Village, who is campaigning, and Barbara Patton of Malverne, who says she's not
running - she withdrew too late to keep her name off the ballot.
Goosby, 65, has faced a series of obstacles in her ascent to her position
as town board member. Now she hopes to have a clear shot at facing the
Republican candidate, Supervisor Kate Murray, for the town's top job in the
Nov. 4 race.
"I'm looking forward to running as the candidate of the Democratic Party
because we live in a democracy with a small 'd,'" Goosby said. "The leaders of
this party shouldn't determine who our candidates are. The people should."
When Goosby decided to run for supervisor, she faced opposition from the
leaders of her own party, who favored Patton.
The Democrats endorsed Patton at their convention in May, then assigned the
Nassau Democratic Committee's counsel, Steven Schlesinger, to help challenge
Goosby's election petitions at the Nassau County Board of Elections in Mineola.
After the elections board certified her petitions, Michael Freeman, an
independent Manhattan lawyer with close ties to Nassau Democrats, pursued
another challenge to Goosby's status in Nassau Supreme Court.
That case, too, ended in a victory for Goosby last month when Justice
Joseph DeMaro ruled that she had enough valid signatures to appear on the
Although Patton has dropped out of the race and hasn't campaigned since
July 21, she said in an interview that she has left the door open to resuming
the campaign if she gets more votes than Goosby in the primary.
A former state assemblywoman and a Nassau Board of Elections commissioner,
Patton took a leave of absence as an assistant professor of business law at
Hofstra University to campaign.
In an interview announcing her withdrawal, Patton said, "I've let a number
of my supporters down, but I'm not getting the support from the party leaders
to make this a real race. I won't be campaigning. I'm out of the race."
A month later, however, Patton injected doubt as to her status.
"Since I decided to leave the race, I've had hundreds of people come up to
me and say they wish I were still in the race," Patton said last month. "But
the fact is I'm still on the ballot."
Asked whether she would serve if elected, Patton said, "Yes." Patton said
she has not decided whether she would actively campaign against Kate Murray if
she wins the primary.
Goosby's battle to become a Hempstead Town official began in earnest in
1988 when she became a plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit, represented
by attorney Frederick Brewington of Hempstead Village.
The suit contended that the town's at-large elections diluted the voting
power of its minority residents.
Goosby won the suit in a landmark federal court decision that was upheld in
2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and which divided the town into six districts.
Hempstead Town spent nearly $2 million, including payment of Brewington's
legal fees, in its fight against the lawsuit.
After winning three elections to the town board, in 1999, 2000 and 2001,
Goosby decided to try for the supervisor's job.
Town law allows Goosby to remain a town board member while running for
Murray said she isn't concerned with the outcome of the Democrats' primary
because she doesn't plan to attack or criticize Goosby or Patton.
Polls are open Sept. 9 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.