By Sabina Mollot
Last week, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as well as her opponent, a Union Square Democrat named Peter Lindner, managed to stay on the ballot following challenges each made against the other’s candidacy.
Lindner, a 66-year-old computer programmer and political outsider, had challenged Maloney based on a simple paperwork error.
In his challenge, Lindner pointed out that she had entered the incorrect zip code on her address on her paperwork following a recent move.
“I wondered if that would invalidate it,” Lindner said. However, he added that the challenge was tossed because he’d sent his mailed challenge to an aide rather than Maloney herself.
Lindner then faced a challenge to his candidacy by Maloney, who pointed out that her opponent had nowhere near the required 1,250 signatures to get on the ballot.
“He only had 600,” said Maloney this week when asked about the challenge. Additionally, she added, “He started it. He started challenging me so you don’t sit there and take it.”
However, despite this, after a hearing with the New York City Board of Election commissioner last Tuesday, Lindner was told he’d still be able to run.
Maloney confirmed this, saying, “We’re both running.”
However, she seemed more concerned about the fact that voters, from what she can tell, have been largely unaware that there’s a congressional primary at all. The primary is taking place on June 28.
A spokesperson for the BOE did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the hearing.
Meanwhile, despite his failure to secure enough signatures, Lindner said he still wasn’t opposed to the requirement for getting 1,250 names.
“I think it’s a good policy for this reason,” said Lindner. “I learned a lot about my constituents by going outside my door and talking to them, and having people say nasty things or say, ‘I don’t care.’”
He recalled one incident in which a woman, upon learning Lindner was pro-legalizing marijuana, crossed her name off his list in front of him. Still, he said he was less bothered by incidents like those than he was about what he complained was a complete lack of support from his own party.
No one, he said, from the Democratic Party he’d wanted to meet with agreed to meet with him, and this meant there was no guidance while he’d gone around petitioning.
“It would be helpful if someone said, ‘You should stand by the supermarket in Stuyvesant Town right by dinnertime. They’ll be off work and no one will be in a rush.’ I would have marked down all the grocery stores in the district, but I figured it out too late in the game.”
He also hasn’t managed to secure any endorsements from clubs. As an openly gay candidate, Lindner had hoped to get an endorsement from Jim Owles, an LGBT Liberal Democratic club. While the club did meet with him, Lindner said there didn’t seem to be any interest.
“I said, ‘I’m gay. Don’t you want a gay person in Congress?’”
In response to his claims, Allen Roskoff, the club’s president confirmed the meeting — and that the club instead decided to endorse Maloney.
“We interviewed both candidates. We always want to be fair to everyone,” Roskoff said. “The club,” he added, “is unanimously supporting Maloney.”
As T&V has previously reported, Lindner is running on a platform around making government agencies more user friendly with technology, legalization of marijuana and legalization of prostitution. Like Maloney, he is also for stricter gun control.
Maloney’s district, the 12th, covers much of the East Side of Manhattan as well as parts of Queens and Brooklyn.