Onondaga County democrats have gone to court claiming their republican counterparts have violated state election law in their handling of a nomination for mayor of Syracuse. The GOP, which still hasn't decided on a candidate, has been struggling to keep its options open. YNN's Bill Carey says the way they've juggled the ballot spot is at the heart of the democratic claim.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As the search went on for a republican candidate, the party's chairman, Tom Dadey, put his own name on petitions as candidate for mayor. But when a long planned change in homes forced him to move from the city, the party was forced to scramble to find a new place holder. They turned to local attorney Kevin Kuehner, who freely admitted he had no plan to run for mayor.
Now, democrats are crying foul, going to court saying the republicans have violated the spirit and letter of election law and should lose their mayoral ballot spot.
The democratic chair, unavailable for an interview, says the legal papers show "clear violations."
The republican chair, Tom Dadey, says the democrats are simply trying to clear the field for incumbent Stephanie Miner.
"I mean, our goal is to have a candidate so we can have a discussion about the issues. I mean, the city's in tough shape. Whether it's financially, whether it's the increase in crime, whether it's the school district, the city has very tough issues," said Dadey.
In an unusual move, the democratic elections commissioner has joined the lawsuit by his party. Dustin Czarny declined an on-camera interview, but issued a statement complaining that , "...by using a series of loopholes and technicalities, the GOP has muddled up what should be transparent."
One person who will not be in court when the lawsuit is argued is democrat Pat Hogan, challenging Mayor Miner in next week's democratic primary. He continues to deny any deal is in place to give him the republican endorsement once the primary campaign is over. But he is critical of the new legal action by his party's local chair.
"The mayor, being the state party boss, instructed one of her vassals, the county boss, to do what bosses do. Find legal means, I guess, to deny the citizens of the City of Syracuse an actual chance to vote in November," Hogan said.
Stephanie Miner is not a party to the suit, but she does gain if the local democrats win the case.
A YNN-Siena College poll in mid-August showed that while she has a healthy double-digit lead in the primary race, when it comes to the general election, things could be much, much closer.
The Onondaga County republican committee has won another court battle connected to this year's race for mayor. The committee went to court to remove republican Ian Hunter from the ballot, saying his petitions did not meet state law requirements. A judge agreed. Hunter took the case to the appellate division. Just hours after hearing arguments, the justices unanimously upheld the ruling removing Hunter from the republican line. He will be the Conservative Party candidate in November.