Take the strange case of Jack Martins, Philip “Flip” Pidot and the Republican Primary in the 3rd Congressional District that never was.
Much has been written about the Democratic candidates fighting to fill the post vacated by Steve Israel, a congressional seat that covers Long Island and parts of northeast Queens, but not much about the candidates on the Republican side of the ticket.
(By the way, the Democratic Primary was decided on Tuesday after this paper went to press. What, you didn't know there were randomly seven congressional primaries held conveniently held on a Tuesday in the last week of June? Well, too late to vote now. Or maybe not if you're a Republican in the district.)
Up to this point, for all intents and purposes, there has only been one Republican candidate that anybody has been paying attention to, and that is Martins, who has spent the last two months in court trying to insure that Pidot doesn't make it on to the ballot.
But at the last minute, Pidot fought off the Martins campaign challenge and a judge ruled that he met every requirement to be a candidate on the ballot. The only problem? The ruling came just days before the June 28th primary.
Let's face it, the state Board of Elections can't always be counted on to run a competent and fair election in this city when it has years to prepare, let alone a few days.
And in a rare moment of self-awareness, elections board officials admitted there was no way in hell they could put together a Republican Primary in such a short matter of time.
So Martins has effectively declared himself the winner of the Republican Primary that never was, and at this point – as far as he's concerned - will be the party's nominee in November.
Pidot, however, isn't going quietly nor without a fight, and has filed a lawsuit in federal court to force the Board of Elections to set a new date for the Republican Primary. A hearing was set to be held on Wednesday, one day after the scheduled primary.
“Mr. Martins somehow believes that he can circumvent the voters and declare himself a winner,” Pidot said in a statement. “But that’s not how American democracy works. This is yet another example of how the arrogance of power can make career politicians think the rules don’t apply to them.”
In other words, there might be a costly, two-person single Republican Primary at some point this summer that nobody will know is taking place but will still cost millions of dollars to hold.
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan isn't waiting for your stupid elections to declare herself the winner.
The Queens assemblywoman sent out a press release this week with the subject head “Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan Announces re-election to the 37th Assembly District.”
Hey, why bother waiting for the September primary or November general election to announce your re-election, just do it in June and everyone will think you already won and not bother to vote.
That is some heavy-handed political maneuvering assemblywoman!
The press release goes on to state that the assemblywoman would hold a reception at a Sunnyside restaurant to “announce her re-election” to the Assembly.
A victory party, too! She's really selling this tactic.
Alright, the press release was actually a mistake, and an email with this subject head came about 90 minutes later, “Updated Release: Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan Announces Candidacy for Re-election to the 37th Assembly District.”
Honest mistake, but for a little over an hour we thought the assemblywoman was just assuming her re-election was a foregone conclusion and wasn't interested in even going through the motions of staging a re-election campaign.
The first (or maybe second or even last) rule in politics: Think like a winner!