Volume 74, Number 16 | August 18 - 24 , 2004



Maloney rival tries to stay in race

By David H. Ellis

Even though an Aug. 4 decision by the state Board of Elections knocking her challenger off the ballot appeared to insure that Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, a 12-year incumbent in New York’s District 14, would not face a primary, Robert Jereski, her former opponent, is saying not so fast.

Hoping to file a court appeal over the state agency’s decision by Wednesday’s deadline, Jereski maintains that he possessed the 1,250 petition signatures required to enter next month’s Democratic primary, before his run for election was derailed by the Maloney campaign.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Jereski in a telephone interview Tuesday regarding the situation. “Instead of this being decided by election lawyers, we invited Maloney to debate and she refused and unleashed her election lawyers instead and we’re dealing with that — it does a disservice to democracy and voters.“

Jereski, an Upper East Side resident and grassroots activist who was the national environment coordinator for Congressmember Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, criticized Maloney during his campaign for voting in favor of the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and supporting the outsourcing of domestic jobs. Jereski said he collected 2,166 signatures from supporters, before the B.O.E. determined that many of the signatures lacked proper information, such as full name or address, leaving him four short of the required 1,250.

According to Maloney’s office, which covers a majority of Manhattan’s East Side as well as Astoria, Queens, and Roosevelt Island, Jereski’s effort to place himself on the ballot failed as a result of obtaining signatures from non-Democrats. Members of Maloney’s campaign team could not be reached before press time to elaborate further. Although Jereski admitted some of his signatures were probably suspect, he believes he should not be disqualified from the race.

“There were and there always are signatures that are not valid for various reasons — people will sign something and they don’t understand that you have to be registered Democrats,” he said. “But we have dozens above that and when we get to the merits of this case it will show that we should be on the ballot.”

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