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Jack Martins backers challenge Thomas Suozzi petitions

Thomas Suozzi speaks during the Nassau County Democrats'

Thomas Suozzi speaks during the Nassau County Democrats' annual spring dinner fundraiser at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on April 15, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Ana Maria Rico

Backers of state Sen. Jack Martins last week filed challenges to the petitions of Democrat Thomas Suozzi, who is seeking to create an independent “Fix Washington” ballot line for the November election in the 3rd Congressional District.

The challenges allege more than a dozen fraudulent signatures, including two from people who are dead.

Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, filed 5,718 signatures for the Fix Washington line; he needs 3,500 valid signatures to qualify. Martins’ backers have filed objections claiming that more than 3,400 signatures are bogus.

The state Board of Elections has yet to rule on the objections. But Suozzi has gone to state Supreme Court seeking to validate the signatures. Both sides are expected in court Monday. Suozzi backers say they have more than enough valid signatures to qualify.

E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ senior campaign adviser, said at least two Suozzi petition gatherers were involved in fraud. Murray said that in all, the pair witnessed more than 300 signatures, indicating that all the petitions are suspect and should be thrown out.

The Suozzi campaign said Martins is trying to eliminate foes in court, rather than at the ballot box.

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