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Judges dismiss 58 Democratic committee petitions in Long Beach

Nassau County judges have dismissed 58 committee candidate petitions submitted by Long Beach Democratic chairman Michael Zapson and blocked his challenge to prevent a September primary for city council.

The ruling on the committee petitions means a different slate of committee members for the Long Beach district could run unopposed and be sworn in after the Sept. 10 primary.

Since committee members nominate candidates for elected seats and elect the Long Beach district chairman, county party leaders say Zapson's post as chairman is in jeopardy.

Judge Arthur Diamond issued a pair of rulings on July 31 that said the committee petitions Zapson filed did not clearly state what region the committee members represented and did not list Long Beach on the signature forms.

"The petitions are factually defective because they fail to identify the party position and geographical territory covered," Diamond wrote.

Long Beach Democrats argued the Nassau County Board of Elections did not provide due process before invalidating the petitions. But Diamond's ruling said no cover sheets were submitted to the board of elections and some forms either said Long Beach or Town of Hempstead.

Zapson said in an email Thursday that the court matters will not be concluded until Aug. 18, when a judge validates petitions. "We expect to win," he wrote.

Nassau County Board of Elections Commissioner Dave Gugerty said, "As of now, there will be no primary for a committee."

Nassau County Democratic Party spokeswoman Bonnie Garone said the new committee members are not expected to re-elect Zapson as Long Beach zone leader.

"To be unable to meet the most fundamental petition requirements is a complete and embarrassing failure by Mr. Zapson," Garone said. "We do believe Mike Zapson's days are numbered."

In a related case, Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Daniel Palmieri, ruled last week that city council challengers had collected enough signatures to appear on the primary ballot.

Zapson had tried to block a slate of candidates put forth by Nassau County Democrats led by chairman Jay Jacobs.

The decision is the latest in a battle between Zapson and Jacobs, who have called on each other to resign.

During the May Democratic convention, Nassau County Democrats nominated Zapson's suggested nominees, including incumbents Len Torres, Anthony Eramo and challenger Karen Adamo.

But days later, Jacobs offered an opposing slate of candidates, including Nassau County Community College professor Anissa Moore and recently laid-off Long Beach firefighter Dave Yolinsky. Eramo is running on both tickets, Jacobs said.

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