Last night, candidates for federal office submitted their petitions to be on the primary and general election ballots. Rival campaigns, through proxies, now have the chance to object to their signatures and see if enough can be ruled invalid to disqualify them from the party line.
This is exactly what has already happened with GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s bid to be nominated by the Independence Party, which he declared was a “game changer” when he initially announced their backing. However, the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, is questioning whether he turned in enough valid signatures to bring that endorsement into effect.
“My understanding is that the Congressman turned in an extremely low number of petitions for the Independence Party line,” Nathan Smith, a spokesman for Mr. Murphy, told The Politicker this morning. “On first review of those petitions, there were clearly some issues and some problems that need to be looked at.”
Update: Mr. Smith was working from an incomplete list of signatures but still contends Mr. Grimm won’t ultimately qualify, see below.
Among the problems, Mr. Smith said, were number of signatures collected from voters not registered as members of the Independence Party, which would render them invalid. Although he didn’t elaborate on the specifics on the objections, it’s possible additional issues could include signatures belonging to voters registered outside of the district, or individuals not registered to vote at all.
“I think there’s going to be a whole host of issues,” he added. “For better or for worse, this is part of the democratic process in New York State.
We’ve reached out to Mr. Grimm’s campaign and will update if they have any further comment. The specifics of the objections must be filed by next Monday.
Update: Mr. Grimm’s campaign spokeswoman Carol Danko responds: “Michael Grimm may also win the lotto – and the odds are about the same. Obviously, it’s a slow news day.”
Update II: It seems that the Board of Elections may have provided Mr. Murphy’s campaign with less signatures than Mr. Grimm actually filed, which would likely make the window of victory for their objection significantly narrower.
Mr. Smith told The Politicker the Board of Elections error wasn’t surprising, but “if we find the same level of fraud and sloppiness then it won’t matter.”
However, Mr. Grimm’s odds of holding onto the ballot line got significantly better with the additional sheets of signatures.