A State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Gene Cook in his fight to appear on the November ballot as a candidate for Huntington town supervisor.
New York State Supreme Court Judge John Leo upheld Cook’s right to be on the ballot, running on the STOP LIPA line. Ed Smyth, Huntington Republican candidate for supervisor, had challenged Cook’s petitions, claiming some of them were forgeries. Several witnesses testified to how they collected petitions to put Cook’s name on the ballot.
But Leo wrote, “Any irregularities relating to this nominating petition did not rise to the level which it could be said the petition was permeated with fraud. Petitioners’ allegations are speculative and conjectural and fall short of satisfying the clear and convincing evidence standard that must be applied. Based upon the foregoing this court denies the relief requested by the petitioners and declares that “Cook’s name should appear on the ballot.
“I am excited to be part of our democracy at work, this is what our forefathers wanted, the right to choose; and with Judge John Leo’s decision, Huntington voters will have choices in this year’s race for supervisor. I am proud to be part of a grassroots effort started by Huntington voters, that includes balanced and diverse support from members of all political parties,” Cook said Wednesday.
“I’m honored to run for Huntington Supervisor on the STOP LIPA line. It’s not only about the tax increase faced by taxpayer because of the settlement with LIPA, but ensuring Huntington’s economic future remains strong while still providing the services that the Town requires. The goal is to preserve the quality of life that makes the Huntington community attractive to not only the residents that live here, but the businesses who line our Main Streets, as well as the visitors who frequent our Town, “ Cook said.
Smyth did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cook was first elected to the Town Board as an Independent, but joined the Republican Party after a change in state law made it more difficult for smaller parties to remain on the ballot.
In February, he announced plans to run against Republican Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, who is facing a lawsuit involving allegations of sexual misconduct against a male former aide, saying the incumbent needed to step aside. When Lupinacci announced shortly thereafter that he wouldn’t run for a second term, Huntington Republicans chose Smyth as their candidate.
In May, Cook announced his bid on the Stop LIPA line, which he said was a result of a grassroots effort to support him because of his fight against LIPA over property tax assessments on the Northport power plant. Though the Town Board approved the settlement on Sept. 3 after nearly a decade of dispute as LIPA sought to reduce the taxes it paid, saying the town had over assessed the plant, Cook continues to fight the utility.
Rebecca Sanin, president/CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, is the designated Democratic and Working Families party candidate for supervisor in November.
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