After four appellate judges in Brooklyn ruled against Michael Stern in his quest to get on the November ballot for Carmel highway superintendent, the “Concerned Taxpayers of Carmel” candidate vowed that he will press on with a write-in candidacy.
There is no Democratic candidate on the ballot in November, creating a head-to-head race between Stern, a 15-year employee of the Carmel Highway Department, and Gerard Ahler, who is on the Republican line.
“Politics is politics, and political insiders never change,” said Stern, claiming that both Putnam County elections commissioners are longtime party activists and political appointees. “Ultimately, the commissioners are beholden to the political bosses, and the bosses don’t want an independent upsetting their cozy backroom deals.”
Stern said the BOE earlier this year claimed that he was disqualified based on a mailing technicality, and threw out the nearly 1,700 petition signatures he submitted. He initially prevailed in the State Supreme Court last month, when Justice Hal Greenwald wrote a 17-page decision in Stern’s favor, ordering that he be placed on the November ballot.
However, that decision was overturned in a two-page decision by four appellate judges in Brooklyn last week. Stern claims that decision did not address the merits of his candidacy, instead throwing him off the ballot on a timing technicality after his original case was delayed when three Putnam County judges recused themselves and the case was transferred to Westchester.
“Carmel voters should not have the next highway superintendent chosen by political appointees in a backroom,” said Stern. “I intend to campaign hard from now to Election Day, and will give Carmel voters a real choice to vote for an experienced superintendent.”