POUGHKEEPSIE – Council Chairperson Sarah Salem has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent a candidate from running for the at-large Poughkeepsie Common Council position on the Republican ballot line. The original Republican candidate, Jenna Liguori, moved out of the area in June and the City Republican Committee nominated Democratic Councilman Chris Petsas to take Liguori’s place on the ballot.
Petsas waged an unsuccessful Democratic primary against Salem in June, leaving Salem to run unopposed for re-election due to Liguori’s move to Monroe County. The Republican Committee filed documents with the Dutchess County Board of Elections on August 20, indicating that Petsas was taking Liguori’s place on the ballot.
Salem’s attorney Michael Treybich, filed suit in Dutchess County Supreme Court on August 27, claiming that the Republican documents were not filed with the board of elections in the required time, making Petsas ineligible to run against Salem in November. The case is set to be heard by Judge Michael Hayes on September 3.
Petsas is often at odds with Salem and was frustrated by the attempt to keep him off the ballot. “Once again Salem is heading to court to try and prevent any opposition to her position. She continues to use and abuse our legal system for her own personal gain. Whether dragging out her now second DWI case in the city court or this latest attempt to prevent city voters from having another choice in the November election – I hope voters are paying close attention and vote the right choice this coming election,” he said.
“The election law allows for the substitution of a candidate after they are disqualified from running. However, the substitution must be done within 10 days of the disqualification,” attorney Treybich said. “The Republican candidate for Poughkeepsie City Council at Large (Liguori) was disqualified when she moved to Monroe County on June 13, changed her voter registration to Monroe County on June 29, and had her voter registration in Dutchess County canceled on July 8.”
Treybich also took aim at the GOP leadership. “The Republican Committee is trying to pull a fast one on the voters of Dutchess County by filing a substitution too late (8/20).” Salem echoed the attorney, saying, “The Republican substitution wasn’t filed correctly. We’re bringing it to a judge to render a ruling as to whether or not they followed the procedure correctly according to New York State election law.”
Dutchess County Republican Committee Chairman and Acting City of Poughkeepsie Chairman Michael McCormack said, “The city Republican committee unanimously voted to nominate Chris Petsas to run against Sarah Salem. After our original candidate moved out of the area and listening to Mr. Petsas’ vision for Poughkeepsie we were excited to support someone with common sense versus a liberal ideologue that has done nothing but harm Poughkeepsie during her tenure on the city council. This lawsuit is a desperate attempt to get a flawed candidate a free ride on Election Day. The case is frivolous and will be handled accordingly.”