Mineola - The race for county executive in Nassau is a two-man field, after a state supreme court justice knocked the potential third-party hopeful out of the running.
Justice F. Dana Winslow says former Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick's organization submitted nominating petitions riddled with "fraudulent practices," including cases of paying a campaign worker $1.25 for each signatures. By law petition-workers can be only paid by the hour.
Hardwick denied allegations he participated in fraud, but Justice Winslow ruled Thursday that Hardwick was aware of fraud in the petition process.
Hardwick's organization collected approximately 8,400 signatures, many more thanr required, but 2,700 signatures were declared invalid for Hardwick's ironically-named, "We Count" ballot line.
Accusations of fraudulent practices were raised by Nassau Democrats. Analysts say county Democrats are concerned Hardwick would draw votes away from their candidate, former County Executive Thomas Suozzi, creating a sure advantage for incumbent, Republican Edward Mangano.
Photo: Andrew Hardwick