Stephens stays off ballot

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A state Supreme Court justice in Albany this morning dismissed a lawsuit that tried to get Assemblyman Willis Stephens, R-Southeast, back on the ballot in the race for his seat.

The incumbent came off the ballot after being nominated to run for a state judicial seat in Queens – the only way to get a name off the ballot short of death or moving out of the district (running for judge, that is, not being a candidate in Queens).

This all happened after Stephens lost the GOP primary to Greg Ball. Getting him off the ballot, the thinking went, would clear the way for Ball.

Democrat Ken Harper filed the suit, maintaining that Stephens didn’t submit the necessary paperwork declining his minor party nominations on the 99th ballot and, therefore, should be back on it. A three-way race, the thinking went there, would be better for Harper.

All of that became moot, though, because the suit was apparently dismissed over a technical error. A state Board of Elections spokesman and Ball’s lawyer said the matter was tossed because Harper failed to name the Conservative and Independence parties as defendants. They should have been because Harper was seeking to invalidate Ball’s nominations on those lines, which Ball garnered after Stephens decided to run for judge.

More on this in tomorrow’s paper.

— Mike Risinit

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