David Mejias will remain on the Democratic primary ballot for State Senate no matter the outcome of a domestic dispute in which he is accused of menacing and stalking a former girlfriend - misdemeanor charges he denies as "unfounded allegations."
The last date to decline the party's designation was July 19, according to state election law. The primary is Sept. 14.
However, Mejias, of Farmingdale and a former Nassau legislator, agreed Thursday to drop his challenge against election petitions of Francesca Carlow, a well-known Plainview community leader, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against longtime Republican state Sen. Kemp Hannon of Garden City.
Attorney Steven Schlesinger, representing Mejias and his supporters, said, "I think at this point the voters should decide."
Mejias' attempt to knock Carlow off the ballot had been unsuccessful. The Appellate Division completed its review of the case and sent it back to the supervising judge of State Supreme Court in Mineola on Thursday for further proceedings, lawyers involved in the case said.
According to state election law, Mejias could still be replaced if he wins the primary. He can't just quit and be replaced; the law requires that Mejias stay on the ballot. However, a political party could nominate him for a State Supreme Court seat anywhere in the state, which would then allow Nassau Democrats to designate a replacement in the race against Hannon, sources said.
State Sen. John Sampson, leader of the Democratic majority, said the circumstances surrounding Mejias' arrest were being examined by the state Democratic Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Both are "once again waiting for all the details and the facts to come out, and at that point in time, a decision will be made on whether to proceed with his campaign or we back down from his campaign," he told New York State Public Radio.
However, Carlow said Thursday she expects to win. "I am not a career politician. I am not a political insider. I was not handpicked by the Democratic Party and obviously have suffered harassment continually for the past two months because they know I am a powerful voice," she said.
With William Murphy
and James T. Madore