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Theresa Bryant Whelan's Conservative ballot line upheld

A state Supreme Court justice has dismissed a challenge to the Conservative Party’s naming of Democratic Family Court Judge Theresa Bryant Whelan as its substitute candidate for county Surrogate Court judge.

In a ruling late Friday, Justice David Reilly found the party’s second certificate to install Whelan on Oct. 9 was filed within the legal 15-day time limit. Reilly rejected claims from Republican Surrogate Court candidate Tara Scully and Conservative committee member Richard Kaufman that the filing was late.

Whelan, supervising judge of Suffolk Family Court, was substituted after the minor party’s earlier candidate, Conservative District Court Judge Deborah Poulos, was nominated to run for Supreme Court.

But Reilly did agree the Conservatives’ first certificate to name Whelan as their candidate was defective because it came after the Sept. 12 primary but before the Sept. 26 party convention, at which new officers were named. Party officials said they originally believed they had only four days to name a replacement.

Steve Martir, attorney for Scully and Kaufman, declined to comment on the ruling, but said his clients will appeal the decision to a four-judge panel in the Appellate Division in Brooklyn this week.

On Thursday, however, Republican and Democratic elections commissioners mailed out 20,000 absentee ballots with Whelan’s name on the Conservative, Democratic and Independence Party ballot lines.

Earlier, GOP Commissioner Nicholas LaLota indicated he would wait for the Supreme Court ruling, which Reilly had said he would make by Friday, before sending out the absentees. LaLota could not be reached for comment late Friday.

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