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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hartford Mayoral candidate fights ballot exclusion in court

Just when you think the mayoral campaign in Hartford can't get any weirder...
State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez and a challenge slate of city council candidates filed suit in court Monday to fight the exclusion of their names from the Democratic primary ballot Sept. 11.

"I'm looking for justice," Gonzalez said, standing outside Superior Court in Hartford. "I want to see my name on the ballot."

Gonzalez and the slate of six city council candidates - Andrea Comer, Eric Crawford, Maria Diaz, David Morin, Paulo "Paul" Mozzicato, and Beatriz Ramon - were bumped last week from participation in the primary. The city's Democratic registrar of voters, Shirley Surgeon, said they had not gathered enough signatures to qualify. Surgeon said a 30-year-old law invalidated many of the primary petitions because they had been circulated by the same person for more than one mayoral candidate.

But Gonzalez and the slate, in their complaints filed in civil court, said they had not violated any election laws. They said that the disqualified petitions should be honored and that the law in question was so vague it violated their constitutional rights to free speech and association.

A judge scheduled a hearing on the matter for 9:30 a.m. Friday.