A couple weeks ago, The Politicker reported GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s petitions for the Independence Party line on the ballot were being challenged by lawyers working for his Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy. And, earlier this afternoon, the Board of Elections unanimously sided with Mr. Murphy and officially booted Mr. Grimm off the line, which will now be blank in November.
It’s fairly uncommon for sitting incumbents to lose third party lines as they tend to have the resources and the operations to easily gather a sufficient number of signatures. Indeed, Mr. Grimm’s campaign expressed a lot of confidence when the general objection to his signatures first emerged, suggesting the story was the product of “a slow news day.”
And, although the Independence Party is notoriously quirky — its voters tend to consist of people thinking they are registering independently of a political party — today’s decision is a bit of a messaging blow to Mr. Grimm’s campaign as they had initially declared the party’s backing to be a “game changer.”
However, in the end, too many of his signatures belonged to voters registered outside of the Independence Party, which, coupled with signature-gatherers facing the same problem and other errors, caused Mr. Grimm to fall short of the signature threshold he needed.
Mr. Grimm’s campaign didn’t even appear at the Board of Elections to contest the objection, or follow up with their own objection to Mr. Murphy’s signatures on the Working Families Party line.
Update: Mr. Murphy’s campaign piles on with a rather critical statement from his spokesman, Nathan Smith:
“Michael Grimm has shown himself again to be just another politician who will say whatever it takes to get to Washington and do whatever it takes to stay there. From his pay-to-play politics in Washington to running a rotten to the core petition operation and, of course, the well known alleged investigations into his shady fundraising – Mike Grimm has pulled off a hat trick. This is a faltering campaign that just can’t seem to shoot straight.”
“Michael Grimm has been our candidate and will continue to be our candidate, as he has proven time and time again that he is not afraid to make the tough decisions that are best for Staten Island and Brooklyn. Regardless of the inadequacies with the signatures, the Independence Party stands with Congressman Grimm and I urge all independent voters to cast their vote for him in November.”