Judge candidate loses ballot line

From left, Tatiana Coffinger, James Hyde and Marsha Purdue are vying for the Hamilton County judge post. (Photo provided)

A lawsuit between candidates for Hamilton County judge candidates has resulted in one of the candidates losing a ballot line for November’s general election.

Marsha Purdue sued Tatiana Coffinger in state Supreme Court because she believed that an independent party that Coffinger created and named Family Justice Party was too similar to the Working Families Party.

Schenectady-based Supreme Court Justice Mark Powers sided with Purdue in a ruling that was filed Friday, finding that the Family Justice Party name was “contrary to law” because it contained the partial name of another existing party.

Purdue pointed out that the ruling marked the second time Coffinger’s election petitions were declared invalid during the race. She also had her Independence Party petitions tossed after an earlier lawsuit by Purdue.

“I strive to follow the law and am happy to report that I have been successfully placed on the ballot every time I have filed a petition,” Purdue said in a written statement.

Coffinger, though, said the lawsuit was an effort to “disenfranchise” voters.

She could appeal the ruling, but she said she wouldn’t because the appeals court has “many more important cases” and she will still be on the Republican and Conservative lines for the general election.

“I’m disappointed with the outcome of this decision but even more so that my opponent chose to disenfranchise the voters again and waste the resources of the court system,” Cofinger said. “I’m confident that the Hamilton County voters would not have confused the Family Justice Party with the Working Families Party.”

Purdue was represented by attorney John Ciampoli, while Coffinger was represented by attorney James Walsh.

Purdue will be on the Democratic and Pine Tree parties lines for the Nov. 5 general election.

It was the latest round of litigation in a hotly contested three-way race to replace the retired Judge S. Peter Feldstein as county judge.

James Hyde will be on the Independence Party line for the general election.

Purdue is the county’s district attorney, while Coffinger served as Feldstein’s court attorney. Hyde is a lawyer in private practice.