A state Supreme Court justice ruled out the possibility of a Republican primary Tuesday in the 3rd Congressional District, despite validating the candidacy of a challenger.
Justice Arthur Diamond issued a written decision Friday that said Philip Pidot had enough petition signatures to qualify for a primary against the GOP-backed candidate, state Sen. Jack M. Martins.
But Diamond denied Pidot’s requests to compel the state Board of Elections to certify and print June 28 ballots as “impossible,” given the short timeline.
Pidot, a former corporate fraud investigator from Glen Cove, responded to the ruling by calling on the state board to schedule an alternate primary date later this summer.
If they do not, he said, “I will go to federal court if need be to protect the right of Long Island and Queens Republicans to have the primary they’re entitled to.”
State election board spokesman John Conklin said Friday that the county boards in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, which the 3rd District spans, have been notified of Diamond’s decision that there will not be a Republican primary Tuesday.
“If the decision is appealed and there is additional court action, we will keep them apprised of any further developments,” Conklin said.
The decision means that Martins (R-Old Westbury) can remain focused for now on awaiting a November opponent to come out of the 3rd District’s five-way Democratic primary taking place Tuesday.
The seat, which represents all of Nassau County’s North Shore, along with portions of Queens and Suffolk, is opening with the retirement of Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington).
“We are confident the voters will send Jack Martins to Washington to fight for our families, lower taxes, cut spending and deliver the results we deserve,” Martins spokesman E. O’Brien Murray said in a statement.
Representatives of Pidot and Martins blamed each other for the fact that the decision on Pidot’s nominating petition signatures came too late for Pidot to get on the June 28 ballot.
After the state elections board found that Pidot was 16 signatures short of the required 1,250 to qualify for the Republican primary ballot, Pidot challenged the decision in court. His case was dismissed on procedural grounds in early May.
Murray noted that Pidot didn’t appeal the court’s dismissal until June 13. The appellate division on June 17 sent the case back to state Supreme Court for a hearing, which took place over three days this week.
Pidot spokesman Jerry McKinstry said, “It’s the Martins team that made this process go so long” with challenges to petitions and the voter registration of people who carried them.
In a statement, Pidot said Martins engaged in “legal chicanery and delay tactics.”