Tuesday, August 7, 2018



Democratic Assembly petition challenge dropped

POUGHKEEPSIE – A Democratic Assembly candidate has withdrawn his court challenge of another Democrat's petition clearing the way for a five-way primary race for the Democratic nomination as they seek to fill the late Frank Skartados 104th Assembly District seat.

Jonathan Jacobson, a City of Newburgh councilman, had challenged the petitions filed by fellow Democrat Ralph Coates of Poughkeepsie.

“I am happy that I was actually endorsed by the Dutchess County Democratic Committee so now I am glad that I can turn my focus back to campaigning and speaking directly to the voters of this district,” Coates said.

Coates is a former City of Poughkeepsie school board member and is on the executive board of the Exempt Firemen’s Association that is under investigation by the state Liquor Authority. 

Both candidates appeared before Judge Rosa in Dutchess County Supreme Court last week and were instructed to file additional papers by last Friday. At that time Jacobson said that 197 of the signatures collected by Coates had been ruled invalid by the state Board of Elections. He further claimed that enough additional errors were present that could remove Coates from the September ballot.

Coates alleged that race played a role in Jacobson's challenge saying, "It's very unfortunate that someone who has been deeply involved in the Democratic Committee is challenging the only African-American candidate who received a majority of his signatures from African-American voters in an attempt to disenfranchise those voters." Jacobson had served as chairman of the Orange County Democratic Committee nearly 20 years.

Appearing before Judge Rosa on Monday, Jacobson withdrew his challenge and the judge declared the case "Dismissed as Withdrawn" paving the way for Coates to participate in the Democratic primary against Jacobson, Alexander Kelly, Jodi McCredo and Kevindaryan Lujan.

According to the state Board of Elections, a Republican and Conservative primaries will have retired Town of Newburgh policeman and town board member Scott Manley face Poughkeepsie's Sakima McClinton for the respective ballot lines.

The 104th Assembly District covers the cities of Newburgh, Beacon and Poughkeepsie and the towns of Newburgh, Marlborough, and Lloyd.


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