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Judge rules for Democratic insurgents in Islip

Giovanni A. Mata, 9th LD in the Democratic

Giovanni A. Mata, 9th LD in the Democratic primary in Brentwood, N.Y., on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

A state Supreme Court justice Thursday rejected Democratic Party-backed challenges to a slate of six insurgent Islip Democrats who are running primaries for a county legislative seat and town positions.

Justice Joseph Santorelli's decision rejected the party's claims that the signatures on nominating petitions were collected by the candidates fraudulently.

"Court concludes that the Petitioners have failed to establish that the Respondents-Candidates participated in or are chargeable with knowledge of any fraud," Santorelli wrote.

Santorelli noted that the insurgent took extra care in gathering signatures because they "were acutely aware that the designating petitions they would submit to the Board of Elections would be closely scrutinized."

Suffolk County Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer said the party would not appeal.

The decision means that Giovanni Mata, 35 of Brentwood, will have the Democratic ballot line against incumbent Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) in November's general election. She will run on the Working Families Party and Independence Party lines, after conceding last week she didn't have enough valid signatures for the Democratic line.

The Supreme Court decision also rejected petition challenges to five candidates for town office, running as a United to Reform Islip ticket, led by former Legis. Rick Montano, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Islip supervisor.

"United to Reform Islip is a real ticket and we just proved it," Montano said. He called on Democratic Party chairman Richard Schaffer to stay out of the races.

Schaffer acknowledged the party can't spend money on a candidate who is not the Democratic nominee. But he said he will personally be giving a maximum personal contribution of $1,680 to Martinez. "Monica is our candidate," he said. "She is the Democrat in the race."

Martinez, who unseated Montano two years ago, did not respond to requests for comment.

Mata, who owns a public relations and marketing firm, expressed confidence in his chances of beating Martinez, noting that there are more than 18,000 registered Democrats in the district compared with 400 Working Families Party and Independence Party members.

The ruling also let stand the signatures collected by insurgents Jorge C. Guadron, running for town clerk, Miriam Ventura and Donovan G. Currey, for town council, and Nitza J. Franco, for receiver of taxes.


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