North Shore race loses two
February 3rd, 2009
Last week, Rajiv Gowda called objections to his place on the Staten Island special election ballot “a distraction.” Today, that distraction proved the end of his bid for the vacant City Council seat.
Gowda, along with Anthony Cosentino, were knocked off the 49th District City Council ballot after the New York City Board of Elections determined they did not comply with election rules. The board found that Gowda only had 1,010 valid signatures on his petitions; the candidates needed at least 1,367. Cosentino had errors on his cover letter and submitted a designating petition, not a nominating petition.
Kenneth Mitchell, former chief of staff to Michael McMahon who left the council position vacant after winning a congressional seat in November, raised objections to the petitions of Gowda, Cosentino, Tom Curitore and John Tabacco.
The board found that of 1,620 signatures Curitore submitted, only 1,132 were valid. A lawyer for Curitore presented what he said were more than 200 additional signatures. If validated by the board, they might be enough to keep Curitore on the ballot. The board will reconvene on Friday at noon with its findings.
Tabacco’s lawyer argued that the board’s clerks miscounted the valid signatures on the petition. His lawyer insisted that he had enough signatures, but the board’s clerks counted only 1,099. The board will take further steps on Tabacco’s case later in the week.
Tony Baker and Donald Pagano survived objections to their petitions and will be on the ballot Feb. 24.
In an interview with Gotham Gazette last week, Gowda said that the objections to his ballot place showed that he had the potential to shake up the race: “Why go after someone if he’s not a strong challenger?”
The race was already the most hotly contested of the three special election races, with the others in the 21st and 32nd districts of Queens. Losing Gowda and Cosentino means the race is down to seven candidates. But with Curitore and Tabacco’s position still up in the air, the North Shore ballot could show as few as five names by election day.By Khadijah Rentas on February 3, 2009, 7:28 pm
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