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Martins blames Pidot for delay in 3rd District race

ALBANY — The protracted legal fight over the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District now includes a battle over which candidate is to blame for the delay in that race, which was that supposed to have taken place in June, according to court filings on Monday.

Republican Jack Martins of Old Westbury filed his response to the objections by Philip Pidot of Glen Cove in the federal appeals court case. Spoken arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

Pidot had previously blamed Martins for continuing his legal fight, which Pidot said threatens to confuse voters with various dates to vote.

The winner will face Democrat Thomas Suozzi of Glen Cove, the former Nassau County executive.

The case has wended its way through state and federal courts since August, when state judges, citing the delays created by the legal fight, moved the Republican primary for the race from June to Oct. 6. Martins had challenged Pidot’s nominating petitions, but Pidot eventually won.

The move to Oct. 6 aimed to allow enough time for Pidot and Martins to campaign for the nomination.

The case entered the federal courts two weeks ago as Martins sought to also move the general election from Nov. 8, the date of the national presidential race, which often influences down-ballot races, to Dec. 6.

A federal judge in Albany rejected that effort, saying more than 100,000 voters would likely not show up for a December vote.

Martins is appealing the decision in part by saying Pidot is to blame for the early delays in the case.

“Pidot admits that between April 27, 2016, when the objections to Pidot’s petitions were served on Pidot with an order to supplement the record, and May 4, 2016 — one week — when provided the opportunity to protect his right to be on the ballot before New York State Board of Elections, Pidot did nothing,” Martins argued in Monday’s filings

“His delay . . . was intentional,” Martins’ attorneys stated.

Pidot, however, wasn’t obligated to get involved in that early date and instead argued his case in court.

Citing previous case law, Martins argued that Nov. 8 “provides insufficient time for voters ‘to make reasoned selection among candidates’ . . . now, one major party candidate will have a mere four weeks to convince the general electorate that he is deserving of their vote, while the Democrat will have had five months.”

Pidot’s attorney, Jerry Goldfeder, called Martins’ filing “just a rehash of his same baseless posturing.”

“It all comes down to this: ‘Please, judges, don’t make me run in a primary against Flip Pidot,’ ” Goldfeder said.

Martins’ spokesman, E. O’Brien Murry, called Pidot “a pawn for the Democrats,” who is sabotaging Martins’ Republican campaign.

Suozzi declined to comment.

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