A State Supreme Court justice has ruled that a candidate nominated by the Huntington Republican Committee to run for the town board is not eligible.
Justice John J.J. Jones Jr., who sits in Suffolk, ruled Tuesday that a vote authorizing Gene Cook, who is not a registered Republican, to run on the party's line in November was not "duly or properly adopted" at the town party convention on June 6.
Republican Vivienne Wong, who had sought the nomination, filed a lawsuit last month claiming that the Huntington Republican Committee did not follow procedures in nominating Cook, who is an Independence Party member. Wong cited the Wilson Pakula law, passed in 1947, which says if a candidate is not a member of a political party, in order to run on that party's ticket he or she must get authorization from that party.
The suit alleged there were several procedural missteps leading up to the vote, including improper meeting notice, not properly conducting a meeting, and improper keeping of minutes. After five days of testimony, the judge agreed and ruled the certificate of authorization allowing Cook to run as a Republican "invalid, null, and void."
"I stood up to the party the same way I would stand up for my constituents to do what is right," said Wong, a 27-year resident of Huntington. "Accountability and integrity are very important in our leaders."
Town GOP party chair Toni Tepe declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
"If they appeal I'm sure the appellate court will rule like the Supreme Court: on fact," Wong said.
Cook, of Greenlawn, who ran for the board in 2009, has the Conservative and Independence endorsements. He could not be reached for comment.
Wong said if the appeal fails and she is approached by the Republican Party, she would consider taking the nomination. She had collected signatures on a petition to force a primary, but the petitions were disqualified, said her attorney, Patrick Kevin Brosnahan, of Babylon.
"She's a lifelong Republican, a delightful woman, very intelligent," Brosnahan said. "She deserves an opportunity."