Actor and Hurley resident Diane Neal will appear on the ballot for the New York 19th Congressional District after successfully appealing a ruling from the state board of elections.
In a Sept. 17 decision, a state appellate court overturned a Sept. 4 lower-court ruling rejecting the former Law and Order SVU star’s nominating petitions.
In response to a challenge, the state board initially rejected 1,852 of Neal’s 41,81 petition signatures as invalid. The ruling left Neal short of the 3,500-signature threshold needed to win a spot on the ballot for her independent candidacy.
The appeals court ruled that a challenge to her petitions challenge should have been tossed out because she failed to properly serve Neal with specific objections to the petition as required by law. In its ruling, the three-judge panel determined that Neal’s petitions were valid and she must appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
“With this behind us, our campaign restarts in earnest immediately,” Neal wrote in a statement following the ruling. “We have a 50-day sprint to make our case that this region doesn’t need more of the same from Democrats and Republicans.”
Neal has positioned herself as an independent voice for those fed up with the entrenched special interests of the two-party system. Among Democrats, she is widely viewed as a potential spoiler in what they anticipate will be close race between incumbent Republican John Faso and Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado. On Tuesday, Faso campaign spokesman Joe Gierut responded to news of Neal’s reinstatement to the ballot, writing,
“We welcome additional voices to the debate.”
Faso, Delgado and Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield are all scheduled to appear at the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast meeting this Thursday, Sept. 20.