Glen Cove voters may see a rematch of the Sept. 10 Republican mayoral primary in the November general election.
A Nassau County Supreme Court judge ruled this week that mayoral candidate and City Councilman Anthony Gallo has enough signatures on his petitions to qualify his fledgling Glen Cove United party for the ballot. The six City Council candidates on his slate also were cleared to run.
Gallo quickly challenged Mayor Reginald Spinello to a debate, but Spinello backed away from a vow he made in September to debate Gallo "anytime, anywhere" and said he hasn't decided whether to accept the invitation.
Spinello beat Gallo 59 to 41 percent in the GOP primary and would have been the sole mayoral candidate on the ballot had Gallo not won the court case.
Spinello also won the Conservative and Independence Party primaries -- his only opposition was from Gallo as a write-in candidate -- and will appear on the Democratic and Reform lines.
Lawrence Levy, executive dean of Hofstra University's National Center for Suburban Studies, said appearing on five party lines "is an overwhelming amount of political firepower."
He said Gallo faces long odds, "so uphill, it's practically vertical."
Spinello's slate went to court to argue that Glen Cove United did not have enough valid petition signatures. Last month, the Board of Elections ruled the party was five signatures short, but Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey S. Brown ruled some of the disqualified signatures were valid.
Gallo accused Spinello of trying to deny voters a choice. Stephen Martir, an attorney for Spinello's slate, said the petitions challenge was meant to prevent potential fraud.
After Brown's ruling, Gallo sent an email to Spinello asking for a debate between him and the mayor and between the six Council candidates on each of their slates. Gallo later said he'd also welcome the Democratic City Council hopefuls.
Spinello said he is too busy with Glen Cove's preliminary budget and other city business to decide yet whether to debate Gallo.
Spinello had invited Gallo to debate him before the GOP primary, but Gallo declined, arguing that the mayor, an Independence Party member backed by the Glen Cove GOP, should not be in a Republican debate.
Gallo called on the mayor to adhere to his previous pledge to participate in a general-election debate. "There are a lot of voters who want to know where each candidate stands on the issues," he said.