Putnam judge rules petition valid
By Chip Rowe
A Putnam County judge overruled objections filed against the nominating petition of Andrew DeStefano, a Republican candidate for Putnam County sheriff, who will now challenge incumbent Don Smith in a Sept. 12 primary.
The winner will face Robert Langley Jr., the Democratic candidate, in the Nov. 7 general election.
Judge Paul Marx ruled on Aug. 16 that the Board of Elections had improperly tossed DeStefano’s petition based on objections filed by Jim Borkowski, chairman of the Putnam County Democratic Committee.
DeStefano needed 1,000 valid signatures; he submitted 1,302. Borkowski objected to dozens of pages because the witnesses had not filled in their town or county. (Asked why the Democrats would not want Smith to face a primary opponent, Borkowski said his objection was about preserving the integrity of the election process.)
DeStefano argued that the lack of a town or county was a technicality and called the board’s decision “an abuse of discretion.” Judge Marx agreed that the lack of a town or county did not invalidate the pages. Although he upheld 194 of 195 objections to individual signers, the decision left DeStefano with 1,108 signatures, enough to get him on the ballot.