Congressional candidates Gordon, Babinec kicked off ballot

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Candidate petitions for two hopefuls in the 22nd Congressional District were ruled invalid by the state Board of Elections Wednesday.

Knocked off the ballot were:

• Democrat David J. Gordon of Utica; and

• Independence Party candidate Martin Babinec of Little Falls.

The election commissioners ruled that the number of valid signatures on the submitted petitions fell below the required threshold, said state agency spokesman John W. Conklin.

The board’s decisions can be challenged in the courts, but the window to object closes on Monday, said Conklin. Babinec and Gordon could also stay in the race as independent candidates.

The petitions filed by Gordon and Babinec were reviewed by the state agency after it received complaints about them.

They were examined by staff. Following hearings, it was the recommendation of the hearing officers that the petitions be declared invalid due to an insufficient number of valid signatures.

The four commissioners accepted the recommendations when they met yesterday.

Gordon needed 1,250 signatures to get on the Democratic line, but it was determined that he submitted only 879 valid ones — 371 below the minimum.

His removal from the ballot leaves Kim A. Myers of Vestal in Broome County without a June 28 primary challenger for the Democratic endorsement.

Babinec’s petitions attracted two separate complaints, both alleging problems with signatures.

He needed 1,154 signatures and fell short both times. One review concluded there were only 955 valid signatures — 199 short — while the other one came up with just 533 — 621 short.

The 22nd District seat opens up at the end of the year when incumbent Republican Richard L. Hanna of Barneveld retires.

One the Republican side, it is a three-way race for that party’s endorsement in the June 28 primary. They are:

• Steven M. Wells of Cazenovia in Madison County;

• Claudia L. Tenney of New Hartford; and

• George Phillips of Endwell in Broome County.

Phillips’ petitions were challenged initially, but the state agency said the complaint alleged fraud and that is something the courts can better handle than the elections board.

Also on Wednesday, the Board of Elections certified “an opportunity to ballot’’ that allows a write-in candidate to challenge Tenney for the Reform Party line.

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