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Not a Democrat,
Not Independent . . .

By Jeanne Sager
ALBANY — August 27, 2004 – An appeal is already in the works to put Fallsburg resident Sandra Oxford back on the ballot against State Senator John Bonacic.
The Hurleyville woman was removed from both the Democratic and Independence party lines earlier this month by State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo.
Oxford, who was registered as a member of the Green Party for the 2002 election, has been attempting to challenge incumbent Bonacic, a Republican and Conservative.
Unless her appeal is successful, her short run is over.
The decision handed down by the Supreme Court states that a July meeting held by Sullivan County Democratic Chair Tim Hill and Orange County Democratic Chair Jonathan Jacobsen where Oxford was named as Democratic candidate for the 42nd Senatorial District did not meet state election law.
According to Spargo’s decision, the four Democratic County chairmen from the district – Hill, Jacobsen, and the chairs in Ulster and Delaware counties – had spoken about supporting Oxford, but not all four were present at the July 13 meeting.
Ulster Chair John Parete signed a certificate “in occurrence” on July 14 – fulfilling the requirement that a majority of party chairs approve her candidacy.
However, the certificate issued by Hill stated that a quorum was present at the July 13 meeting – a point challenged by Democrat Gregory Gilman and upheld by the court.
Spargo’s decision admits that the majority put forth a “good faith effort on their part to commit the Democrat Party to authorize Oxford as the Democrat candidate.”
But, he continues, the court cannot rule without noting that requirements were not met.
“It seems inescapable that this court is powerless to fashion a remedy without defying or disregarding the clear statutory language . . . requiring a meeting and a properly conducted vote,” Spargo said.
Oxford’s other challenge came from Mary Silano, an Independent Party member, who told the court that Oxford did not obtain the appropriate number of signatures to be added to the ballot on the Independent Party line.
Oxford’s lawyer admitted that was true, and Spargo designated Oxford’s run on the Independent line invalid.
Reached this week, Hill said the appeal is ongoing – they’re headed to the State Court of Appeals.
Hill said Bonacic, whose office issued a press release this week announcing Spargo’s decision, is attempting to use this court case for his own political gain.
“It raises in my mind the question of what is he afraid of?” he said.
Oxford could not be reached for comment.

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