Possible petition problems for O’Scanlon

Declan O'Scanlon, who came within 73 votes of winning a State Assembly seat in 2005, could have an early problem in his '07 campaign: he filed with 104 signatures on his nominating petition — just four more than the law requires. Democrats are mulling a challenge, and if he were to get tossed off the ballot, he would have to win the Republican nomination as a write-in candidate in a race that is among the most competitive statewide. His running mate, Caroline Casagrande, filed with 225 signatures.

Editor's note: While the State Division of Elections lists O'Scanlon as having filed with 104 signatures, the Monmouth County Republican says his actual number was 168. "Now my friends at PNJ – you know not to underestimate me – and that I'd never cut things so close! I actually filed with 168 signautres but 64 of them were held awaiting our bracketing letter," O'Scanlon wrote. "And yes – I did verify the validity of my signatures! The bracketing letter is in the hands of the DOE now and my signature total will be updated shortly. Sorry to disappoint my Democrat opponents who I'm sure would prefer we focus on petition signatures rather than their records."

The minority parties in two of the Clean Election districts have some petition exposure: in District 24, Democratic Assembly candidates Toni Zimmer and Pat Walsh filed with 111 signatures; and in the 37th, GOP Assembly candidtaes Frank Cifarelli and Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz had 119 signatures on their petitions. Clara Nibot, the Republican Senate candidate, filed with 111.

Watch for a challenge to the petitions of party switcher Michael Guarino, who is challenging State Senator Paul Sarlo. Guarino filed with just 101 signatures — which means Sarlo is just two signatures away from the possibility of running unopposed. That would be good news for a Democrat with leadership aspirations, some possible electoral vulnerabilities, and a warchest of more than $500,000 in a district that the Republicans won just four years ago.

In the 22nd disrict, where Republicans still have a base vote on about 40% and where the incumbent Democratic State Senator, Nicholas Scutari, was among the legislators receiving a federal subpoena, GOP candidate Bryan Des Rochers filed with just 105 signatures. Union County GOP Chairman Phil Morin had announced a different Senate candidate, Dirk Webber, last Friday.

Other candidates who could have a petition problem: Democratic Assembly candidates Jeffrey Williamson and Sharon Atkinson in the 30th (104); Democratic Assembly candidates William Coulter and Michele Rosen in the 9th (106); Andrew Tidd, who is running in a contested GOP Senate primary in the 18th (109); Steve Morlino, the Democratic Senate candidate in the 30th (112); John Zunic, the Democratic Senate candidate in the 40th (112); Herbert Glenn, the GOP Senate candidate in the 28th (112); GOP Assembly candidates Edward O'Neil and Jacob Hahn in the 32nd (117); Al-Samar Douglas, the GOP Senate candidate in the 29th (119); Bob Martin, the GOP Senate candidate in the 15th (119); and GOP Assembly candidates Miguel Sanabria and Elaine Guarino in the 29th (119). Possible petition problems for O’Scanlon