Democratic congressional candidate Tom Suozzi ended his fight for his “Fix Washington” ballot line last week after a weeks-long court battle.
Suozzi last Friday withdrew his request that a judge validate his ballot petition with more than 5,700 signatures he submitted.
Suozzi needed at least 3,500 signatures from registered 3rd Congressional District voters, and the state Board of Elections recently found he had more than 3,700.
But the court rejected more than 2,300, and supporters of his Republican opponent Jack Martins alleged hundreds more were fraudulent.
“Tom Suozzi knew his petitions were full of fraud and he didn’t have enough signatures but he was only concerned about himself and not the voters or people who whose signatures were forged,” E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ senior campaign strategist, said in a statement.
Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, introduced the ballot line in July as an appeal to reform-oriented voters who are not Democrats.
Suozzi campaign manager Mike Florio blamed Martins for creating a “legal quagmire” and said the campaign will focus on town-hall events after spending more than $50,000 on legal fees.
“This is the kind of nitpicky, insider manipulation of the system for your own agenda that Tom Suozzi has fought against with Albany, and wants to go to Washington to fight,” Florio said in a statement.
But E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ senior campaign strategist, attributed Suozzi’s move to the fraud allegations that marred the petition and blamed him for wasting court time.
Judge James McCormack denied last month Martins supporters request to throw out the entire “Fix Washington” petition, dismissing their allegations that it was rife with fraud.
Martins’ lawyers argued the petition contained hundreds of bad signatures that were forged, including three from dead people.
One Suozzi campaign worker who signed for the dead voters declined to testify under the Fifth Amendment; Suozzi’s campaign says it fired him immediately after learning what he did.
A federal court will likely decide Wednesday whether Martins, an Old Westbury state senator, will face Philip Pidot of Glen Cove in an Oct. 6 GOP primary.
Suozzi is planning a town hall event on the economy, jobs and taxes for Sept. 20 in Great Neck.