U.S. Senate candidate Antonio Sabas withdrew from the race Monday after two challenges to his nominating petitions found a number of signatures from members of the Democratic party.
“I just withdrew from it,” Sabas told the Globe on Monday. “I withdrew from it because you have other people going around and changing designations, so we’ll just be better next time around.”
Two challenges against Sabas’s petitions were filed shortly before Friday’s deadline, one by rival candidate Brian Goldberg and another by Lisa LoBiondo, director of Morris County for the Organization for Economic Growth, a political action committee founded last December by former assembly candidate Joe Caruso.
Lobiondo’s challenge, which was the larger of the two, contested more than 350 of the 1,090 signatures on Sabas’s nominating petitions. The majority of claims in the challenges said some of those who signed Sabas’s petitions were registered as Democrats, though some claims staked other ground.
To run for U.S. Senate, a candidate must have at least 1,000 signatures.
Sabas claimed that many of the issues came from roving registration drives for local elections that changed unaffiliated voters or registered Republicans to registered Democrats.
“Someone is unaffiliated while there’s other races going around in the town, all they have to do is walk around with an iPad and change the designations,” Sabas said. “They even came to my house to have me register as a Democrat as well when I’m a registered Republican.”
Sabas, who previously ran as an independent, said this wouldn’t be the end of his political career.
He said that while he had considered running as an independent this year, he was unlikely to do so and would probably wait until U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s seat comes up for election in 2020.
“Hopefully we don’t run into any more mistakes like we did with this one,” Sabas said.