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Suffolk Republicans challenge Steve Bellone's bid for new ballot line

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, seen April 17,

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, seen April 17, has balked at having county lawmakers vote on a new contract for operating Suffolk's eight health centers. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Suffolk Republicans filed general objections Friday to Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone’s bid for a separate “Protect the Taxpayers” ballot line for his re-election in November.

Jesse Garcia, Suffolk GOP chairman, filed the objections and has six days to delineate specific objections to challenge the 8,000 signatures Bellone submitted. Bellone needs at least 2,500 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

“We believe there are a lot of errors, a lot of supermarket signatures and a lot of violations of procedures and process,” said Garcia. He said the GOP believes there are substantial issues with the petitions because, “they used the same cartel that Mayor Bill de Blasio used in New York City” to gather signatures.

Jason Elan, Bellone's spokesman, said, “Garcia already lost trying re-elect Nixon’s son-in-law as state GOP leader and now he’s going to fail to stop the county executives “Protect the Taxpayer” effort.”

Elan was referring to Long Island Republican leaders' backing of former state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, son-in-law of the late President Richard M. Nixon, during a recent party leadership fight won by Nick Langworthy, the longtime Erie County Republican chairman. 

Bellone aides also said their petition gatherers never worked for de Blasio’s campaign.

Bellone is seeking the separate ballot line after earlier deciding not to accept the Working Families Party line because of his stand against fusion politics, in which candidates are endorsed by more than one political party.

Republican John M. Kennedy, the Suffolk County comptroller, has the Conservative and Independence Party ballot lines.

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