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Burke, Hassig disqualified from ballot in congressional race

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WATERTOWN — Democrat Stephen W. Burke and Green Party member Donald L. Hassig both had their petitions to get on the primary ballot in the 21st Congressional District race invalidated by the state Board of Elections on Wednesday.

As a result, it appears that Democratic candidate Aaron G. Woolf and Green Party hopeful Matthew J. Funiciello will not face the primary battle with which Republicans Elise M. Stefanik and Matthew A. Doheny have to contend.

The board’s commissioners, two Republicans and two Democrats, removed 175 signatures from Mr. Burke’s petitions, leaving him with 1,116 — 134 shy of the minimum 1,250 needed to appear on the June 24 primary ballot.

Mr. Hassig’s petitions were disqualified because the Board of Elections received them April 14, three days after the deadline.

Mr. Burke appealed the board’s decision to the state Supreme Court in Albany County on Wednesday morning. He was told that the court could not reach a decision until after the election board’s commissioners officially certified the ballot petitions, which occurred later that day.

Mr. Burke will appear at a hearing at 11:15 a.m. Monday at the state Supreme Court to appeal the board’s decision. His petitions were reviewed line by line, according to board spokesman John W. Conklin.

As for Mr. Hassig, he said the instructions for mailing the petitions were not clear.

“This is the kind of behavior of government that I’ve been trying to change,” Mr. Hassig said. “I’m not going to sue them because it’s a waste of time and money.”

Mr. Hassig said he had not decided whether to endorse fellow Green Party candidate Mr. Funiciello because he does not know enough about him yet.

In a news release, Mr. Hassig promised to redouble his efforts in environmental activism while he prepares for a 2016 run. He said he believes that running for Congress repeatedly will eventually lead to victory.

“My decision is to now shift all efforts to environmental protection activism and not spend another minute or another penny on political activism in 2014. The truth is, 2016 will be here in a flash and I will be back in the running again. I am going to really go wild on protecting the Earth Mother from hydro fracking and protecting the cows, chickens and pigs from factory farming,” Mr. Hassig said in the news release.

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