By MAX PIZARRO
The state Division of Elections office says Nicholas Chiaravallotti and Shelia Newton-Moses, candidates for the General Assembly in the 31st district, filed their petitions wrong in time for Monday’s primary deadline.
"They filed for the general election," said spokesman David Wald. "It’s unclear what the division is going to do. We have confirmed the petitions were accepted for the general election."
Chiaravalloti acknowledged that his petitions incorrectly, but noted that he submitted signatures for both the general and the primary — and that when the Division of Elections throws out the ones he filed for the general, he still has plenty to qualify for the — and Newton-Moses says she does too, he said.
Both candidates handed in petitions containing 1,490 signatures.
Wald said Hudson County Democratic Chairman Bernard Kenny acknowledged that Chiaravalloti and Newton-Moses filed "both kinds’ of petitions.
"I understand they were filed wrong," Chiaravalloti said. "But I am not concerned. I have more than enough to qualify for the June primary."
Chiaravalotti maintains that of the names he handed in, "there are between 800 and 900 good ones" to qualify him for the primary.
The candidate said his and his running mate’s situation is different from that of Senate candidate Sandra Bolden Cunningham, who is being challenged in court by her opponent and Chiaravalotti’s running mate, Assemblyman Louis Manzo
Manzo and Chiaravalloti are arguing that because Cunningham filed to run only in the general, the State Division of Elections should scrap her primary candidacy, which would force her to file as an independent candidate. Cunningham submitted 171 signatures, according to the state Division of Elections.
"If they submitted (the same) petitions for the general and primary, technically that's illegal," said Chiappone, who added that if it was an honest mistake, their situation is the same as his running mate, Cunningham. "Mr. Manzo can't have his cake and eat it, too," Chiappone said, referring to the Assemblyman's challenge.
Chiappone said in the case of Cunningham's petitions, Division of Elections clerks on two different days didn't point there was any problem: last Thursday, and this Monday, when Chiappone said he himself delivered Cunningham's signatures.
"If it was their intent to submit them as primary petitions, they should be allowed to do so — just like Sondra,” said Chiappone.