by MAX PIZARRO
Brown allowed to run in district 13, Cunningham on hold
If a decision rendered today by the state Office of Administrative Law (OAL) holds up under the scrutiny of the Attorney General’s Office, Robert Brown of Old Bridge will be allowed to run as a candidate in the district 13 Democratic Primary.
The state Division of Elections initially rejected Brown’s primary signatures because he submitted them as general election signatures.
Today, Judge Izzidore Dubin made a determination in the OAL’s Hamilton office that Brown should be allowed to run based on a case presented on the candidate’s behalf by attorney Colleen Flynn.
Flynn argued that a technicality should not prevent Brown from running in the primary, and she successfully presented evidence that showed it was always the intent of Brown and the signers of his petitions that he run in the primary and not the general election.
By statute, the state’s Attorney General Office can overrule Dubin’s decision. But for the time being, Brown is a candidate in the Democratic Primary.
The larger question for this primary season is how Dubin’s decision will impact the pending decision of OAL Judge Joseph Paone, who today heard arguments in the case of Manzo v. Cunningham in district 31. Like Brown in the 13th, State Senate candidate Sandra Bolden Cunningham filed signatures to run in the general election, when, she says, she meant to file for the primary.
Cunningham’s supporters argue that if Dubin allows Brown to proceed as a candidate — when the Division of Elections rejected his original petitions, surely the OAL will have to accept Cunningham’s petitions. The state Division of Elections accepted Cunningham’s signatures, but her opponent, Assemblyman Louis Manzo, is challenging, arguing that given the mistake the office should have rejected the petitions.
Paone offered no immediate answer Wednesday to the district 31 challenge, but heard both sides and said he would issue his decision by 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Brown, an attorney and ex-cop, wants to challenge GOP incumbents Samuel Thompson and Amy Handlin in the Monmouth/Middlesex district.