WOODBURY - Republican congressional candidate Jack Martins is taking legal action to push back the general election from November to December.
The current state senator says people would be disenfranchised from voting if the date of the general election to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Steve Israel is not changed.
Martins finds himself in an unexpected and late congressional primary fight after a U.S. district court judge ruled Wednesday that challenger Philip Pidot should have been allowed to challenge the GOP nomination earlier in the year.
That primary is now scheduled to take place Oct. 6. The general election is just 32 days later. Martins is asking a federal court to push back the general election to Dec. 6, arguing that absentee ballots will not be printed in time for the current date, dissuading voters in the process.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Tom Suozzi in the general election. Martins says Suozzi should join him in calling for a date change. But the Suozzi campaign says Martins is playing "petty political games."
"This is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to distract voters from his disastrous record of raising property taxes, defending Dean Skelos and supporting Trump," says chief Suozzi campaign strategist Kim Devlin.
Martins' Republican challenger agrees with Suozzi in this case.
"Martins is again trying to use the court system to manipulate the political process, to manipulate the democratic process itself," Pidot says. "And whether that benefits a Republican, a Democrat, Jack Martins or myself, I'm against it."
Martins' camp says there is precedent for the change, but one political analyst tells News 12 that in 40 years of politics, he has never seen such a move.
A decision is expected by the end of the month.