Roughneen in court today on signature challenge

The lovefest Republican forums the candidates in the 7th district Congressional race enjoyed in the pre-primary season have come to an end, as the remaining candidates jockey for power in the lead-up to Election Day on June 3.

The first target appears to be Thomas Roughneen of Watchung.

Hailed as a war hero by his rivals, Roughneen today finds himself before an administrative law judge in the Board of Elections Office in Elizabeth on a challenge to his petition signatures made by Emilio Dabul of South Plainfield. Two-hundred signatures are required, and Roughneen has 273. Dabul has called into question 79 of Roughneen’s signatures.

“I don’t know who he is,” said Roughneen, who suspects the Dabul challenge is a ploy by one of his opponents to keep him bogged down in court while the others are out campaigning.

Contacted yesterday at his home, Dabul refused to answer’s questions about why he challenged Roughneen’s signatures and whether he was doing so at the request of one of the other 7th District candidates.

“No comment,” said Dabul. “I’m not ready to speak to the press at this time.”

Roughneen suspects that if Dabul presses the issue, the candidate will have to appearbefore judgesin all four counties to make a case for the petition signatures that he maintains are legitimate.

“Three of the signatures he challenged are veterans from WWII, and because they didn’t sign their names but printed their names, they’re being challenged,” Roughneen said.

Roughneen in court today on signature challenge