Republican candidate Steven McLaughlin said he's staying on the ballot and offered some sharp criticism to Assemblyman Tim Gordon, I-Bethlehem, after a state judge validated his petitions in the 108th Assembly District race.
McLaughlin, R, C-Melrose, is challenging Gordon for his seat and said the first-term assemblyman is playing dirty politics in order to keep him off the ballot. McLaughlin said he believes he is the best candidate for the job in the Democrat-controlled state Assembly because he won't be a puppet for the Assembly speaker.
McLaughlin, a registered Conservative, said his petitions were objected to by one of Gordon's "hometown operatives," Veronica Wolfe of Bethlehem, who said that a quorum of county Republican chairmen was not present when he was granted a Wilson-Pakula certificate to run on the Republican ballot line.
A Wilson-Pakula certificate is required for the designation or nomination of a candidate who is not enrolled as a party member.
State Supreme Court Judge Eugene Devine ruled that McLaughlin's Wilson-Pakula certificate was correctly authorized by the county chairmen. Devine said that the county chairmen represented over 60 percent of the weighted vote in the assembly district, which provided a proper quorum for the Wilson-Pakula certificate.
"I was caught out of the blue on this," McLaughlin said. "There was no notice. I was contacted and said 'What the heck is this?'"
Gordon did not return calls to Spotlight Newspapers before publication.
"They didn't challenge a single signature, not one of the more than the 1,500 signatures I got to be on the ballot," McLaughlin said. "It was a gutless move, and I'm not very happy about it. And although justice was served, trying to knock me off the ballot over some drummed up technicality was just a waste of everyone's time."
Running for his first political office, McLaughlin said the state's Assembly is being unfairly controlled by Downstate Democrats and that he is challenging Gordon, the Independence Party chairman in Bethlehem, for stepping in line with Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and other Downstate Democrats.