Judge Joseph Paone of the state Office of Administratve Law today ruled in favor of keeping Sandra Bolden Cunningham on the Democratic Primary ballot.
Cunningham, a candidate for State Senate in district 31, last week received a legal challenge from rival candidate Assemblyman Louis Manzo, who saidCunningham shouldnot be allowed to participate in the primary because she filed a general election and not a primary election petition.
In his decision Thursday afternoon, Paone granted there were problems with Cunningham's petition and acknowledged many of the signatures Cunningham submitted were defective.
But he concluded, "In view of the fact that I found that a great deal of public attention was generated by Cunningham’s candidacy, and I also found that the circulators… informed the signatories that they were signing a petition to place Cunningham on the primary ballot, I must conclude that the preponderance of the competent evidence demonstrates that the signatories to the petitions… knew that they were signing petitions to place Cunningham on the primary ballot.
"Therefore, the 393 signatures included in the petitions… that were filed and accepted by the Division of Elections, must be counted. Since the 393 signatures exceed the requisite number of signatures to participate in a primary election, I conclude that Cunningham has satisfied the requirements…"
The judge therefore ordered that Cunningham remain on the ballot as a candidate in the Democratic Primary.