The nominating petitions in the upcoming village elections for Patchogue incumbent Mayor Paul Pontieri, the incumbent board members on his party line, and trustee candidate Richard Evans, are being challenged.
Village resident Constantine Chutis filed the challenge against the “Patchogue 2016” party line, which includes Pontieri, who is running unopposed, and trustees Lori Devlin, Jack Krieger, Thomas Ferb and Susan Brinkman.
Of the six trustee seats on the board, four are open in the March 15 village election, along with the post of mayor.
Chutis’ objection, filed with the Suffolk County Board of Elections, says that the party name and accompanying emblem on the petition are too similar to those of another local party, “Patchogue 2014.”
Asked by phone Wednesday to comment on his challenge, Chutis said, “I have nothing to add right now.”
The challenge caught some in village government by surprise.
“This is the first time in the 12 years that I’ve been village clerk that someone has challenged the petition,” said Patricia Seal.
The Board of Elections must determine if the challenge is valid, said Seal. A ruling could be issued by Friday, she said.
Two members of “Patchogue 2014,” Joseph Keyes and Salvatore Felice, are on the board and are not up for re-election.
Reached by phone in Colorado on Wednesday, Pontieri, campaigning for a four-year term, said he doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with using the party name “Patchogue 2016.”
“We’ve been using the same name over the last three elections,” said Pontieri, who was first elected in 2004.
Two other trustee candidates are John Cucci, who is campaigning on the “Clean and Safe Village” line, and Richard Evans, who is running on the “Progress For All” line.
“There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the party names,” Cucci said Wednesday.
The challenge against Evans, was filed by village resident Patricia Kelly, who asserted that many signatures on Evans’ petitions were not legible.
“It just made me kinda curious,” Kelly said. “So yes, I challenged it. It was very questionable.”
Evans could not be reached for comment.