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The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Judges will hear three petition challenges for State Senate candidates today

By David Wildstein, April 03 2023 9:38 am

Three legislative candidates will be in court today after the validity of their nominating petitions face legal challenges.

Republicans are seeking to toss Charles Laspata, who is challenging State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland) in the 1st district.  Laspata filed with 115 signatures, and the GOP thinks enough of them are invalid to keep him off the ballot.

In the 6th district, where State Sen. James Beach (D-Voorhees) is seeking re-election, a challenge alleges that Republican Lynn Lofland doesn’t have enough valid signatures.  She filed with the minimum number of 100, and the Democrat contesting her petition, Edward Bray, alleges that six signatures are invalid.

Petitions for a Republican candidate for State Senate in the 28th district, Philip Wilson, were filed with 118 signatures.  Wilson wants to challenge State Sen. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington) in a heavily Democratic district.  Arthur Koblitz, the person challenging the petition, says as many as 50 are no good.

On Sunday, Hudson County Democrats dropped their petition challenge to GOP State Assembly candidates in the 32nd district.  Republicans Alex Garcia and Robert Ramos had filed with just 101 signatures, but the county chairman, Anthony Vainieri, decided to let them remain on the ballot.  They will face Democratic John Allen and Jessica Ramirez.

Last week, State Administrative Law Judge Joann Candido tossed a Republican candidate for State Assembly in the 37th district from the primary ballot after finding that he didn’t obtain enough signatures.

In that case, State Senate candidate Diedre Paul challenged the petitions of her would-be running mate, Robert Bedoya, a follower of QAnon.  Paul appears to have taken a principled stand of refusing to run with Bedoya.

Watch the court challenges live:
1st District: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGUc27hv2u0&t=1s
6th District: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzGgk1DzVC8&t=4s
28th District: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3TA7Vw2iT8  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT9FNKlvBOE

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