“Gene Mazo survives petition challenge in NJ-10 special election”

New Jersey Globe:

Eugene Mazo, a Rutgers law professor with a penchant for filing for political office in order to test out state election laws, has just barely survived a challenge to his nominating petitions for the special election in New Jersey’s 10th congressional district.

Leslye Moya, the co-executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, had filed a challenge against many dozen of Mazo’s 243 signatures, claiming that they had a variety of deficiencies. But Administrative Law Judge JoAnn LaSala Candido determined that only 43 of them were invalid, keeping Mazo at 200 acceptable signatures – exactly the threshold required for ballot access.

The attorney representing Moya, Raj Parikh, said at the end of the hearing that he will not officially withdraw his challenge until he speaks with his client.

The judge’s determination means that, at least for now, the Democratic primary field for the late Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark)’s congressional seat will remain at 11 candidates. Two of those candidates, former East Orange Councilwoman Brittany Claybrooks and Newark City Council President LaMonica McIver, are also facing petition challenges that have yet to be resolved.

Either McIver or Claybrooks are far more likely to end up prevailing in the July 16 Democratic primary than Mazo, whose runs for office are usually not concerned with actually winning.

Mazo, a scholar of election law, has run for Congress several times before, utilizing unusual or provocative ballot slogans in order to challenge the state’s slogan restrictions. (In 2022, for example, he filed for the 8th congressional district using slogans like “Supported by the Governor” and “Endorsed by the New York Times,” statements that were not true.)

This year, Mazo filed at first with three ballot slogans referencing a variety of famous figures, fictional and real: “Vladimir Putin Is A Murderous Warmonger” in Essex County, “Xi Jinping Will Destroy Taiwan” in Hudson County, and “The James Bond of Newark” in Union County. But those were rejected by the Division of Elections; Putin and Xi, after all, had not granted Mazo their permission to use their names….

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