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Stephen Ruth seeks Suffolk legislature seat

Stephen Ruth, who is seeking to run against

Stephen Ruth, who is seeking to run against Tom Muratore, at Centereach Mall on Aug. 13, 2016. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Stephen Ruth, an anti-red light camera activist who pleaded guilty to vandalizing county cameras earlier this year, filed signatures last week to run a Republican primary against Suffolk County Legis. Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma.)

Ruth, a landlord and real estate broker from Centereach, submitted 1,215 signatures. He needs 500 valid signatures to qualify for the September primary.

The Suffolk Republican Party has filed objections to Ruth’s signatures, saying many are from people who do not live in the district or are not registered to vote.

Ruth, 44, said he expects his signatures to hold up. “I’m running because I think the people in office don’t have the constituents’ fiscal responsibility at heart,” he said.

Muratore, a retired Suffolk County police officer first elected in 2009, did not respond to requests for comment.

Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle said, “Tom has done a great job as a legislator in the community and I believe they will re-elect Tom on the merits. As the party leader, we have to look at all the signatures collected. It appears many of the signatures are not valid.”

Ruth has crusaded against the red light camera program, saying it is aimed at raising money. In February, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal mischief for cutting red light camera wires at 17 locations in April 2016.

Ruth was sentenced to a year of interim probation, and if he stays out of trouble for that period, he will be allowed to withdraw his felony plea and plead guilty to a misdemeanor. He also was ordered to pay $85,000 in restitution.

David M. Schwartz

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