Martins, Suozzi tangle over new GOP primary

By TimesLedger staff

State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), now facing a Republican opponent in the race to fill the vacant congressional seat covering northeastern Queens, wants the recently scheduled Oct. 6 primary moved to Dec. 6 to accommodate military and absentee voters.

A federal court decided Wednesday that Philip “Flip” Pidot had qualified to run in a Republican primary against Martins, who up until then had expected to be the sole GOP challenger of Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. The three contenders are vying to replace U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville), whose 3rd Congressional District covers Whitestone, College Point and other parts of eastern Queens, Nassau and Suffolk countries.

“I call on Tom Suozzi to join me in asking the judge to protect the rights of the military, senior citizens and others whose right to vote in the general election is jeopardized by an October primary,” Martins said in a statement.

But Suozzo was not moved by the appeal.

“It’s time for Jack Martins to face voters, stop wasting millions of taxpalyer dollars with his petty political games and trying to litigate his way into Congress,” a Suozzi statement said.

Martins’ camp pointed out that an Oct. 6 primary leaves only 32 days before a general election, while under federal law states are required to send out absentee ballots no longer than 45 days before the election.

“This is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to distract voters from his disastrous record of raising property taxes, defending Dean Skelos and supporting Trump,” Suozzi said.

The Republican primary would have been held June 28 along with the Democratic primary if Pidot had been on the ballot. But a state court ruled that even though Pidot had enough valid sisnatures to qualify for the primary, there was not enough time to put his name on the June ballot. The federal court reversed that ruling.