Barnegat Township Mayor John Novak has filed a Order to Show Cause lawsuit in Superior Court seeking an injunction against Governor Phil Murphy alleging that the Governor overstepped his bounds by refusing to extend the petition filing deadline when he postponed the Primary Election date.
"The statute governing the filing of candidate petitions clearly states that the petition filing deadline is "before 4pm on the 64th day before the primary election." The Governor, by Executive Order, recently changed the primary election date to July 7, 2020 but refused to extend the deadline for filing of candidate petitions. Novak's suit alleges that the Governor and Secretary of State, " ... exceeded their authority by failing to adjust he date by which the candidate petition would be due so as to comply with the statute governing same, and thereby specifically increasing the time before primary election day for petitions to be submitted under N.J.S.A. 19:23 - 14 from 64 days to 98 days." The suit maintains that the statutory authority over petition deadlines is with the legislative branch, not the executive branch of state government.
Last week Novak withdrew and endorsed David Richter, the candidate who had challenged Novak's petitions as having too few eligible signatures after subtracting those who had signed Novak's petitions as well as other Republicans. Novak said, "After reviewing the challenges and determining that certain signatures were, in fact, duplicates with other candidates the proper thing to do was to withdraw given that the deadline at that time had passed making it too late to obtain additional signatures."
As for his earlier endorsement of Richter, Novak said, "Under the circumstances as they were April 7th, I felt that David was the second best choice - and I still do feel that way."