Challenger S.J. Jung went hard after incumbent Toby Ann Stavisky's petition signatures in an attempt to get her kicked off the ballot, a favorite tactic of well-established, party-backed candidates who find themselves facing a pesky challenger for their seat.
And Jung wasn't beating around the bush!
He filed specific objections against 3,502 of the 3,515 signatures Stavisky filed with the Board of Elections to get on the ballot, citing such issues as signatures from voters outside the district, unregistered voters and non-Democrats.
If Jung had been successful, that would have left Stavisky with only 13 valid signatures, far less than the 1,000 required.
In the end, the Board of Elections found that 2,223 of the signatures filed by Stavisky were invalid, leaving her with 1,296 valid signatures, or about 300 more than she needed to get her name on the ballot.
Jung immediately cried foul, arguing that the Queens-appointed commissioner on the board, Jose Araujo, owes his job to the Queens Democratic Party and thus can't be trusted to make an objective decision on the party-preferred candidate in Stavisky.
But the icing on the cake was the photo of the office logbook the Jung campaign sent out with a statement lambasting the decision by the Board of Elections, which showed that Stavisky and her counsel Frank Bolz had a meeting with Chief Clerk Barbara Connacchio the day before the ruling.
Infer from that what you will!
Or if you want to be told what to infer, how about this:
“To say it’s inappropriate is not enough,” Jung campaign manager Kyle Sullivan said in a statement. “Allowing an elected official to plead her case behind closed doors leaves in doubt whether the BOE’s decision was impartial. It is a true, on-the-record abuse of power.”
Not content, Jung has filed an aggrieved candidate case with the New York State Supreme Court, a case that by his own admission he has little chance of winning.
Meanwhile, Stavisky went on the offensive, sending out a release this week charging that Jung missed an August 1st filing deadline of his campaign finances. Not the first time, according to the Stavisky campaign, that he has run afoul of election finance law.
According to a spokesperson, Jung was cited in 2009 for failing to properly report $20,000 in campaign spending. The Stavisky campaign is calling for an investigation into his late filings.
“We requested the latest filings from JCOPE (Joint Commission on Public Ethics) and it seems the most recent filings from S.J. Jung, were from 2013, not 2015,” Campaign Manager Veronica Ng said in a statement. “It's ironic S.J. campaigns on ethics and good government, yet can't follow the law. S.J.’s continued failure to obey the law has once again proven that the people of Queens cannot trust him.”
There's still a little over a month before the Democratic Primary on September 13, and we think things are going to get a lot more interesting over the next four weeks.