Congressional Candidate Steven Vasquez defeated James Buhrmaster Wednesday, July 30, in a court battle over Vasquez's petition signatures.
Buhrmaster had sued to knock Vasquez off the ballot for the 21st Congressional District. The result of the win is that both candidates will face off in a September primary to determine who will represent the Republican Party in the race for U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty's seat.
We went up against one of the best election lawyers in New York. Our campaign volunteers did such a good job in the petition process that it wasn't even close, Vasquez said in a written statement.
The two sides appeared in Albany County Supreme Court Wednesday, July 30, for a hearing. Three Vasquez volunteers testified about the signatures they had gathered, said Warren Redlich, Vasquez's campaign manager.
"Buhrmaster's attorney, Tom Marcelle, then proceeded to go through the Buhrmaster objections one by one through a witness," the statement reads.
At 6:15 p.m. there were 55 withdrawals. Vasquez needed to win 62 of the total 452 objections to stay on the ballot.
Marcelle then asked Judge Roger McDonough to rule on a group of nine outstanding objections relating to signatures with both a hamlet and town listed as the signer's place of residence, and the Judge ruled in favor of Vasquez.
This brought the total to 64, keeping Vasquez on the ballot.
"He's supposed to be a Republican. But he filed a frivolous lawsuit, wasting both taxpayer money and his own campaign's money, all in an effort to keep Republican voters from having a choice. Buhrmaster owes the voters an apology," Redlich said. "I think he has a lot to answer for."
Burhmaster's camp sees it differently.
"It wasn't a frivolous lawsuit," countered Josh Hills, a spokesman for Buhrmaster. "Even by Mr. Redlich's count, about 350 [signatures] were knocked off. They only had a cushion of 50 signatures. We knew it would be close."