Suffolk County Republicans have filed a lawsuit seeking to knock Democratic county legislative candidate Kate Browning off the November ballot in the county legislature's 3rd district, arguing the former legislator should not be allowed to run again under Suffolk’s term limit law.
The lawsuit, filed Friday by two Republican voters from the district and backed by the county GOP, alleges Browning is ineligible to take the seat because she already held it for 12 years, the county term limit.
Republicans said county law prohibits Suffolk legislators from serving in their district seat again after they hit the term limit.
"We welcome giving voters a choice but will not sit by silently as Kate Browning seeks to break the law and thwart the will of the people," Suffolk GOP chairman Jesse Garcia said in a statement.
Democrats deny Browning's candidacy violates county term limits, saying county law only bars legislators from serving "more than 12 consecutive years."
Browning of Shirley has been out of office since 2017, when she was term-limited under the 1993 county statute.
"The Republicans have launched this politically motivated attack to distract from their record of corruption and know they can't beat Kate Browning at the ballot box," Keith Davies, Browning's campaign manager, said in a statement.
Browning, 61, is running against Republican James Mazzarella, 55, of Moriches, who also has the Conservative Party line.
Browning is Babylon Town code enforcement director.
Mazzarella is secretary treasurer of Long Island Public Service Employees union Local 342. He also sits on the Brookhaven Town Board of Zoning Appeals.
Browning and Mazzarella are expected to face each other twice this year: In a May 25 special election to hold the seat for the remainder of 2021, and in November's general election for a two-year term.
The special election will fill the seat left vacant by former GOP Legis. Rudy Sunderman's resignation on March 21.
The Republican lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court by voters John Doyle of Shirley and Melissa Schlosberg of Center Moriches against Browning and the county Board of Elections.
The suit seeks to invalidate Browning’s nominating petitions both for the June Democratic primary, for which she has no opponent, and the November general election.
A court hearing is expected to take place April 16, Garcia said.
Garcia said Republicans also expect to take legal action against Browning's special election run once her candidate paperwork, due April 12, is filed with the Board of Elections.
Sunderman, 51, of Mastic, pleaded guilty on March 19 to misdemeanor filing of a false financial disclosure form with the county ethics board about his job with the Centereach Fire District, prosecutors said.
Sunderman said he resigned his legislative seat to take a job with the Suffolk County Fire Academy.