After losing the battle for the designation of Republican committees in the four counties that make up her State Senate district, Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffmann said she would launch a challenge to party-backed candidate Tom Dadey in a September primary.
SENATOR NANCY LARRAINE HOFFMANN
She also took steps to circulate petitions for an Independent line on the November ballot. The GOP did not challenge her Republican primary petitions, but the Independent petitions are a different story.
“You would customarily collect your signatures by going door-to-door in a neighborhood. We had already understood that these were collected in front of Eckerd Drugs and Price Chopper stores and passed around at fairgrounds and things like that. So we were immediately suspicious,” explained Onondaga County Republican Chairman Bob Smith.
Smith says a check of just a portion of the signatures has already turned up enough invalid signatures by unregistered voters and people who don't live in the district to come close to disqualifying the Senator's effort.
The implications of the petition challenge are obvious. Should Senator Hoffmann fail to win the Independent line on the November ballot, and should she fail to win the Republican primary for State Senate in September, her twenty-year career in the State Legislature would end by default.
But the Republican effort to block the Independent Hoffmann line has moved beyond the normal challenge of signatures. The party has now forwarded information to the District Attorney's Office claiming there may have been criminal fraud involved.
“I believe that some of the signatures, a number of signatures, were from the same person. One person signed for up to six other individuals and, on top of that, then obviously, the petition was witnessed by someone else who indicated that they had seen each person sign. I think our allegations stand…I sincerely believe she's going to be thrown off the ballot,” said Smith.
There is no timetable for action by the District Attorney's Office on the new complaint. The challenges of faulty signatures on the Independent Hoffmann petitions are due to be filed with the State Board of Elections next week.
The District Attorney's Office had no immediate comment on any investigation.
Senator Hoffmann had the following to say about the claims against her:
"I know when people were circulating them, there are always a few people who are very enthusiastic and want to sign, and either they have moved and haven't reregistered, or there is another reason why they have had their names removed. So there are always a few that aren't going to match the test. But there were many more submitted then were called for under the law. So I hope it does stand up,” she said.
Hoffmann says she is very excited to use the name of the Reform party.
It was the same party she used in the nineties.