Ken Bush is now the official Republican candidate for 13th District Onondaga County Legislator.
Voters picked Bush, former Elbridge Town Supervisor, over incumbent Derek Shepard in an 11th-hour primary Tuesday by a margin of 632 to 422 (there were also six write-in votes). Shepard, of Baldwinsville, was the candidate endorsed by the Onondaga County Republican Committee.
Shepard, who was seeking his fourth term in the legislature, had issued a challenge to Bush’s designating petitions, arguing that a number of the signatures contained therein were invalid. In particular, he cited one page where a woman had signed on behalf of her husband, who was too ill to sign himself. As a result, Shepard argued, Bush did not have enough signatures to qualify as a candidate. Supreme Court Judge Deborah Karalunas agreed, throwing out all of the signatures on that particular page, and Bush’s name was removed from the GOP line.
Bush appealed, however, and the Fourth Department of the New York State Appellate Division overturned Karalunas’ ruling in a decision issued Sept. 8.
“… the court erred in striking all of the signatures on sheet 18,” the appellate court’s decision reads. “The attesting witness for the signatures testified that she was present in the room with the purported signatory and his wife when the signature was obtained, that the purported signatory’s hands were ‘shaking and weak,’ and that he responded in the affirmative when his wife asked him if he would like her to sign it for him. The attesting witness further testified that the purported signatory’s wife said that she had the authority to sign for him pursuant to a power of attorney, and that the purported signatory’s wife marked the signature with her own initials. Thus, the use of a proxy to sign the purported signatory’s name was apparent from the face of the petition sheet.”
The court went on to state that, even if that signature were inappropriate, the lower court still erred in invalidating the rest of the signatures on the page. If that signature alone were taken out of consideration, Bush would still have the required number of signatures.
Bush will appear on the ballot on both the Republican and Conservative lines in November.
The 13th District includes the towns of Camillus, Elbridge and Van Buren.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club’s Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.