Monday, July 16, 2012

Fatal Petition Problem in 78 A.D. Race

By Robert Press

(Assemblyman Jose Rivera's opponent was listed as a candidate on the Rivera petition)

As we told you in last week’s column petitions were handed in for candidates seeking local state office, Democratic Party positions, and two Bronx judge positions. Tips came in about a few petitions, and we wanted to check them out, so we went to the Board of Elections to see just who filed for which office or party position.
Of the incumbents running for State Senate in the Bronx, petitions were filed for candidates to run against the incumbents in three Senate Districts, the 28th, 32nd, and 33rd. State Senators Jeff Klein and Ruth Hassel-Thompson do not have a Democratic Primary while Senator Klein also has the Republican line, and Senator Diaz Sr. the Conservative line. Of the 11 assembly districts in the Bronx there will be no primary for Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie, Marcos Crespo, Jeffrey Dinowitz, and Eric Stevenson, with Assemblyman Stevenson also picking up the Republican line.
In the 77th A.D. two challengers to incumbent Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson filed petitions. In the 80th A.D. three challengers to incumbent Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera filed petitions. In the 78th, 82nd, 84th, and 86th A.D.'s there was only one challenger to each of the incumbents. With no incumbent in the 87th A.D. only two candidates filed petitions for the open assembly seat.
We were given information that the petition of Incumbent Assemblyman Jose Rivera had alleged fraud, to check the petition signatures, and look at all the candidates on the petition. We went over the entire petition to see if we could spot any fraud, and while there could be some questionable items on several pages (as is the case on any petition), we were convinced that there were enough valid signatures on the petition. 
As for the candidates on the petition, Assemblyman Rivera's son Councilman Joel Rivera and one of the assemblyman's staffers were listed as the male and female State Committee members. Both were just redistricted into the 78th A.D. from the 80th A.D. so this was all right, but when we looked further down the list of candidates on the petition we saw the name of Assemblyman Rivera's opponent Mr. Ricardo Martinez with the correct address of his opponent.
I was with Mr. Martinez on the day that he told Assemblyman Rivera that he was going to run against him, and that Mr. Martinez said he did not want his name to appear on the Rivera petition. I called Mr. Martinez after coming back from the Board of Elections, and asked him if he knew that his name was on the petition of Assemblyman Jose Rivera. Mr. Martinez said that he did not authorize the use of his name on the Rivera petition, and did not know how or why his name was on the Rivera petition, his opponent.
We inquired to several experts on the subject of petitions about this and were told that it was unheard of to have the name and address of your opponent on a petition that is submitted to the Board of Elections, and that it was a fatal problem to the petition.
At the end of July once all the general objections and specifics to the general objections of the petitions that were handed in are ruled on by the commissioners of the Board of Elections, and we will have who is on the ballot in what district. Check my blog at for updates on this, other items that may not make it into this column, items that may have come in after our deadline, or for more details and photos.
If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

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