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Abinanti’s Challenge of Opponent’s Petitions Dismissed

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Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti
Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti

Democratic Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti’s attempt to invalidate his opponent’s petition in state court was rejected for the second time in less than three weeks on Tuesday, ensuring a contested election this fall in the 92nd Assembly District.

The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court ruled that Republican and Conservative Party candidate Michael Duffy did not intend to confuse or mislead potential signatories by identifying himself on his petitions as Mike Duffy.

On Aug. 1, Abinanti, seeking a third term in the Assembly in November, went to state Supreme Court in White Plains contending that he did not know which person was his would-be challenger because there were two Michael Duffys that were listed as living at the candidate’s Valhalla address. He lost his initial challenge before going to the Appellate Division.

Duffy, 62, a criminal defense attorney with his own practice in White Plains, is Michael K. Duffy. His son is Michael M. Duffy, also an attorney.

Duffy said Thursday that he chose to use the name Mike on the petition and the ballot because that’s how nearly everyone he knows refers to him.

Furthermore, he said his son no longer lives with him, so there should have been no reason for Abinanti to have been confused.

He charged that Abinanti, who was unopposed two years ago, was looking to “thwart the possibility of an opponent this year.”

“I think that he should have known that there was no attempt to confuse and the Appellate Division agreed,” Duffy said. “It was pretty obvious I had no reason to confuse or mislead the public.”

Abinanti did not return messages left for him on Thursday.

Challenges were lodged by Abinanti against both of Duffy’s petitions, Republican and Conservative.

The one-page Appellate Division ruling said that the assemblyman “did not meet his burden of showing that the use of the name ‘Mike Duffy'” would mislead or lead to misidentification of potential signatories regarding the candidate’s identity.

Despite the victory in court, Duffy likely faces an uphill battle to unseat Abinanti, a Pleasantville resident and former county legislator, in November. The district has long been a Democratic stronghold. Before Abinanti, the area was served by longtime Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who was in office for 28 years before retiring at the end of 2010.





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