BY JEREMY MOULE
Jose Cruz and John Lightfoot will have to wait for a judge’s ruling on their petitions.
The Democrats want to run a primary against incumbent State Assembly member David Gantt. But a citizen, Ruth Brooks-Ward, is challenging the validity of their petitions in State Supreme Court. A second hearing on the case was held today, but no ruling was issued and Justice John Ark didn’t offer a time frame for his decision.
During today’s appearance, attorneys for both sides made arguments that were often technical, and sometimes rhetorical. Christopher Thomas, a Nixon Peabody attorney representing Brooks-Ward, said that Lightfoot’s petitions didn’t correctly identify the position he’s running for. That’s a fatal flaw that should disqualify the petitions, Thomas said.
He also speculated that the Cruz campaign changed language on 14 petition pages about the office Cruz is seeking. Thomas speculated that the changes were made after the witness signed the pages, and he said Ark should dismiss Cruz’s entire petition on that basis. If Ark rules only that the 14 pages are invalid, however, Cruz will still have enough signatures to appear on the primary ballot.
Van White, the attorney representing Cruz and Lightfoot, said there was no confusion about the position Lightfoot is running for: that the petitions are clearly marked. And he said the opposition has no proof to justify its claims about Cruz’s petitions.
White said the case is not about voters. “It’s just about one candidate who doesn’t want competition,” he said.