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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Tara Scully moves to keep opponent, Theresa Bryant Whelan, from getting Conservative Party ballot line

Republican Surrogate Court judge candidate Tara Scully is making a last-ditch effort to keep her Democratic opponent, Theresa Bryant Whelan, from getting the Conservative Party ballot line.

Scully and Richard Kaufman, a Conservative committee member from Mt. Sinai, have filed a lawsuit, objecting to the minor party’s move to install Whelan to replace Conservative Deborah Poulos. Poulos left the Surrogate’s race last month to run for state Supreme Court justice.

The suit originally said the Suffolk Conservative executive committee did not have the authority to make the switch, which occurred after the party’s Sept. 12 primary and before the recent party convention where a newly elected executive committee was installed.

Vincent Messina, the party’s lawyer, said the party’s old executive committee was “absolutely authorized” to act, given a minimum four-day deadline to make the replacement so the party would not be without a candidate. However, the newly elected party executive committee also took action, naming Whelan as their candidate last Tuesday. Messina said it was the last day to act under a separate provision of state election law which sets a 14-day deadline.

Stephen Martir, attorney for Scully and Kaufman, said the old executive panel did not have the power to act and the nomination filed by the new committee is “untimely.”

While the case was scheduled to be heard Thursday in Riverhead before state Supreme Court Justice David Reilly, the hearing was postponed until Monday.

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