Sandra Bolden Cunningham ought not lose too much sleep over her petition deficiencies. This is New Jersey, where administrative feasibility and voter choice trumps all.
The Jersey Journal reported today that Cunningham could be off the ballot for filing the wrong petitions. She submitted petitions to run as an Independent
If the courts say no — every once in a while, they go the opposite way of the conventional wisdom (and their own precedents), Cunningham has the option of running against Louis Manzo and Sean Cotter in the 31st district Democratic primary as a write-in candidate — no easy task, just ask Jim Sauro. Or she could file as an Independent and run in November.
With Cunningham off the ballot, the chances of Manzo’s Assembly running mates, Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Shelia Newton-Moses are greatly improved in their race against L. Harvey Smith and Chiappone.
But if the courts allow Cunningham’s candidacy to proceed, then Assembly candidate Robert Brown, a Democrat from the 13th district — who was turned away by elections officials after he made the same mistake — should be allowed to return and file.
For years, some political leaders have been talking about doing away with the petition process entirely. Challenges over picayune technical matters cost the taxpayers money in the courts, so maybe New Jersey would be better off doing what New Hampshire does: a $2 filing fee to run for the Legislature.