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Board of Elections kicks Dunleavy off the November ballot

08/31/2017 2:31 PM |

Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy is off the November ballot for town supervisor because of defects in the petitions he collected, according to officials at the Suffolk County Board of Elections, which made the ruling Thursday.

The main defect was that his petitions listed his address as being “Middle Country Road” instead of “Middle Road.”

“Every single petition has the wrong address,” his opponent, Republican Supervisor Sean Walter said.

The objections were filed by Charles Sclafani, a supporter of Mr. Walter, whose wife works in Mr. Walter’s office, and Michael Comando, a Democrat who has been both a Democratic committee member and candidate at times in the past.

Mr. Dunleavy could file a lawsuit to try and overturn the BOE’s ruling, but he has three business days to do so, officials said.

He said he was made aware of the mistake in the address.

“I will leave it up to the chairman to decide what to do next,” he said, referring to Suffolk County Libertarian party chair Mike McDermott, as Mr. Dunleavy is seeking to run as a Libertarian party candidate.

Mr. Dunleavy needed 449 valid petitions to get on the November ballot and submitted more than 700.

Mr. Walter said that since Mr. Dunleavy gathered a lot of petitions at fairs and festivals, many of those people were not registered to vote in the town.

“I think submitting petitions is a process to get on the ballot, and you need to follow protocol,” said Democratic Supervisor Candidate Laura Jens-Smith. “I think everything needs to be scrutinized to make sure it’s done property in order for the candidates to come up for election.”

Mr. Dunleavy could not run for reelection to his current position because of a town term limit law enacted last year, limiting town council and supervisors to eight years in office.

Mr. Dunleavy, who feels that law was specifically aimed at him, has been in office since 2006. Rather than run a primary against Mr. Walter for the Republican nod, Mr. Dunleavy instead circulated petitions to run as the candidate of the Libertarian party.

Asked if he felt having two opponents instead of one was to his advantage, Mr. Walter said, “I’d prefer straight head-to-head combat.”

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File photo: Councilman John Dunleavy (center) with Supervisor Sean Walter.

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