Rival State Senate candidates Rubain Dorancy and Jesse Hamilton have withdrawn their efforts to kick each other off the ballot after failing to impress a Brooklyn judge on Monday, sources from both camps tell the Observer.
Mr. Hamilton had asserted in his suit that Mr. Dorancy’s real residence was outside the district–while Mr. Dorancy claimed that Mr. Hamilton’s petitions contained fraudulent language. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice David Schmidt, however, reportedly did not give much credence to either argument–prompting the two candidates to withdraw their suits, leaving both of them on the September Democratic primary ballot.
“The judge didn’t think there was much merit to either case, so we agreed to withdraw our actions, and we’re going to let the voters decide,” said John O’Hara, one of Mr. Hamilton’s attorneys.
Mr. O’Hara said that extensive documents that the Hamilton legal team subpoenaed actually connected Mr. Dorancy with the in-district residence where he is registered to vote, as opposed to an out-of-district address. The lawyer also said that Mr. Schmidt, the judge, was unconvinced by Mr. Dorancy’s claim that the language of Mr. Hamilton’s petitions improperly referred to “filling a vacancy”–a term reserved for special elections–rather than to an open primary for a vacant seat.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided not to call a special election for the seat in question, vacated by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, instead letting it and other vacated seats around the state be resolved in a September primary and November general election.
The Dorancy camp confirmed the legal battle is over, and that both contenders would be on the ballot in September. But the campaign would not comment directly on Mr. O’Hara’s characterization of the judge as unmoved by their case against Mr. Hamilton’s petitions.
The Dorancy team cast the result of the legal challenge as an affirmation of their candidate’s roots in the district.
“We were confident that Rubain would be on the ballot because we had the truth on our side–Rubain was born and raised in this district, he attended grade and middle school here, he served on the school board in Crown Heights and has over two decades worth of service to this community,” said spokeswoman Ronnie Sykes. “Look, this is and always has been a transparent campaign focused on the fight for the creation of affordable housing, the improvement of our public schools, the need for increased public safety and the creation of good paying jobs and we will continue to stay focused in our fight.”
Mr. Schmidt, the judge in the case, could not be reached for comment.