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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

4th CD: Nassau elections board nixes an underdog's GOP primary bid

The Nassau County Board of Elections has ruled that a registered Democrat who tried to run for Congress in the 4th District as a Republican cannot appear on the June primary ballot.

Michael Vista, 41, of Merrick, had filed 1,306 signatures on his designating petitions, slightly more than the 1,250 required to make the GOP ballot. But the elections board invalidated all of the signatures because Vista hadn’t switched his registration in time to run as a Republican – nor received a “certificate of acceptance” by his new party that would have qualified him before the switch becomes effective.

“The bottom line is he was a Democrat trying to run as a Republican and to run on the Republican line you need permission from the Republican party,” said Democratic Elections Commissioner William Biamonte.

The board’s bipartisan leadership also ruled this week that Vista’s petitions didn’t clearly describe the office he was seeking. That itself was also a reason to invalidate the signatures, officials said.

Vista, who did not immediately respond to an email request for comment, had filed his statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in March. He did not report raising any money as of April 1.

On his campaign website, which is still active, Vista identifies himself as an Army veteran who served in the Iraq War and a former prosecutor in Brooklyn.

He said he would fight to “end huge tax increases that are killing businesses,” and to repeal the Affordable Care Act, both common Republican campaign platforms.

The 4th District race to succeed retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) includes Republicans Bruce Blakeman, of Long Beach, the former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, and Frank Scaturro, a New Hyde Park attorney.

Blakeman and another person now have a case in State Supreme Court to challenge the signatures Scaturro gathered for the right to wage a write-in campaign on the Conservative Primary ballot. Scaturro won the Conservative line in 2012 on a write-in campaign.

The Democratic candidates in this year’s 4th District race are Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, of Garden City, and Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, of Freeport.

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