Just two weeks after being removed from the Democratic primary race, Suffern mayor and county executive candidate Dagan Lacorte was returned to the ballot by State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Loehr today.
Lacorte’s campaign suffered a setback when county executive opponent David Fried and three of his volunteers challenged 3,337 of Lacorte’s 4,435 ballot petitions. The Rockland Board of Elections accepted Fried’s assertion and declared that since Lacorte’s petitions did not meet the 2,000 petition minimum, he was not eligible for a primary run.
However, Loehr determined in a ruling Monday that Fried’s camp “failed to show the designating petition was permeated with fraud or that the candidate has participated in any fraud.” Going petition-by-petition, he restored Lacorte’s tally to 2,096 petitions from the previous count of 1,926 approved by the Board of Elections.
Fried not only challenged Lacorte’s petitions but also those of Democratic primary candidate Anthony Leon. Unlike Lacorte, however, Loehr ruled that Leon’s petitions were indeed invalid.
In response, Fried’s camp announced it was analyzing the court decision and considering an appeal, explaining a decision would need to be made by the end of the week.
“The voters of Rockland deserve better from their candidates than the fraudulent petitions submitted by the campaigns of Dagan Lacorte and Vladimir Leon,” Fried explained in a statement.
The county executive race recently saw a spate of such petition challenges. In addition to the push against Lacorte and Loehr by Fried, Republican candidate Ed Day has been driving to invalidate petitions for Conservative Party primary candidate Simon Leschinsky and the Independence Party petitions of Democrat Ilan Schoenberger. Both Leschinsky and Schoenberger won their cases remain on the ballot on the respective lines.