Bills Introduced to Restrict Judicial Candidates

Proposal would prevent primary ‘raids’

A state senator from the Rochester area introduced a bill on Dec. 1 that would restrict judicial candidates from running in primaries for parties that haven’t endorsed them. It is identical to a bill introduced in the Assembly over the summer by Jonathan Jacobson, a Democrat whose district includes Beacon.

Both bills have been referred to committees. Jacobson’s bill is co-sponsored by Sandy Galef, a Democrat whose district includes Philipstown.

The Assembly bill was inspired in part by this year’s campaign for Beacon city judge. The incumbent, Tim Pagones, who appeared on the Republican and Conservative lines, gathered enough signatures to force Democratic and Working Families primaries against Greg Johnston, the candidate endorsed by those two parties. Had Pagones won, he would have run unopposed in the general election.

“It’s becoming a widespread practice, particularly for incumbent judges, to ‘raid’ the primary of a party with which they are not aligned,” Jacobson said in a statement. Judicial candidates “should be required to do what every other candidate for public office does — get the authorization of that party to run.”

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