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Riverhead councilman ousted from ballot over address discrepancy

Riverhead Town Councilman John Dunleavy said he will

Riverhead Town Councilman John Dunleavy said he will now wage a write-in campaign for town supervisor. Credit: Ed Betz

Riverhead Town Councilman John Dunleavy was removed from the ballot for town supervisor on Tuesday after a state Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of Supervisor Sean Walter and the Suffolk County Board of Elections, which raised objections about Dunleavy’s candidate petitions.

The Board of Elections found that the home address on a nominating petition for Dunleavy, who was running on the Libertarian party line, was incorrect.

Dunleavy said that he filed paperwork to sue the Board of Elections over its ruling and to countersue Walter, who challenged the validity of Dunleavy’s petitions. But Judge Robert Quinlan, ruling in Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead, tossed his case, saying Dunleavy’s attorney did not serve the paperwork in the required timeframe.

Dunleavy, who is reaching the 12-year term limit as a councilman, denied that his listed address was incorrect. He said he is not going to appeal the decision and will run on a write-in campaign.

“It would be harder with a write-in, but if you do it correctly you should be able to win,” Dunleavy said Thursday.

Quinlan’s decision made a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Walter against Dunleavy “moot,” Walter said.

“Missing the deadline was very unfortunate for him but fortunate for me,” Walter said Thursday.

Both Dunleavy and Walter said they did not expect the lawsuits between them to impact town business, citing that they have voted similarly on some recent issues.

“There’s a lot that we agree on and there’s a lot of things we disagree on,” Dunleavy said on Monday. “He’s only one vote and I’m only one vote.”

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