Democratic hopeful raises questions about residency

07/15/2010 12:00 AM |

Residency qualifications of Democrat Regina Calcaterra (D-New Suffolk) to run for the New York State Senate in eastern Long Island have been called into question by longtime senatorial hopeful Gregory Fischer, who claims she hasn’t lived in New York State long enough.
An attorney for her campaign called the charge groundless and said Ms. Calcaterra, a lawyer who grew up in Coram, had lived in New York State for many years.
Mr. Fischer, a Calverton resident, sought the Democratic nomination to run against GOP Senator Kenneth LaValle of Port Jefferson in the first senatorial district in 2008, but the party opted not to run a candidate. Mr. LaValle, the incumbent first elected in 1976, garnered 81,062 votes that year.
Mr. Fischer, who is gathering signatures to get his name on the ballot for the Democratic primary in September to challenge Ms. Calcaterra’s nomination as the party’s candidate, announced recently that he had written the Suffolk County Board of Elections to argue that her candidacy must be rejected on the basis of fraud.
Mr. Fischer said the law requires a candidate for the legislature to have been a resident of New York for at least five years prior to an election, and not just for “any five-year period.” He submitted to the Board of Elections an April 2007 voter registration application from Ms. Calcaterra giving an address in New Hope, Pa., according to a release from his campaign. He also submitted evidence she had requested a New York State driver’s license in 2007.
A legal advisor to the Calcaterra campaign scoffed at the challenge. Mr. Fischer “doesn’t know the facts and does not understand the law with regard to residency,” said elections attorney Jerry Goldfeder, to whom the Calcaterra campaign referred all questions.
Mr. Goldfeder said there was no question that she meets the five-year residency requirement. He declined to comment as to whether Ms. Calcaterra had a second residence or vacation home in Pennsylvania. “If and when it comes to court,” he said, “I will deal with it there.”
Mr. Fischer did not return phone calls seeking comment.
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