John P. McCloy, known to his friends as Jack, is out of the race for the 5th Legislative District seat that longtime Legislator Joe Scannell will not seek to retain when his term expires. McCloy’s ouster leaves Baldwin school board Trustee Laura Curran unopposed on the Democratic ticket. She will face off against Republican challenger Debbie Pugliese, a member of the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, in the general election in November.
McCloy’s withdrawal from the race was not voluntary, and he did not depart without a fight. A citizen objector, who McCloy says was affiliated with the Nassau County Democratic Party, claimed that there was a technical oversight in McCloy’s registration paperwork, but McCloy said that the challenge was mounted to spare Curran the rigors of a primary.
“The Democratic hierarchy told me that they wanted Laura Curran to run unopposed, and if I chose to oppose her, they would fight my attempt to run in the primary,” McCloy said last week.
The 23-year Baldwin resident and father of two explained that the basis of the challenge to his candidacy was the lack of a cover sheet for the petitions he needed to collect in order to run. McCloy and his attorney battled the disqualification in an appellate court in Brooklyn and in Albany, but were ultimately forced to admit that the registration documents were flawed.
“I am not a seasoned politician, and they found a mistake that I made regarding filing my petitions and exploited it,” said McCloy. “I make no excuses. It was my error that allowed them to challenge my candidacy. My inexperience regarding the filing process is acknowledged.”
McCloy said he had no regrets about his run, but added that he felt for voters who may have been underserved. “I believe the greater injustice was for the court to disenfranchise the hundreds of Baldwinites who signed my petitions and wanted a choice in the primary,” McCloy said. He mentioned that he was happy to have met many new people in the community, and felt he had given the campaign his best effort.
Curran, who was not personally involved in the case against McCloy, said she and her one-time opponent had many things in common. “I know that, like me, Jack believed that the county has taken a wrong turn under Ed Mangano and the Republicans,” Curran said. “Our residents can no longer afford the record debt and massive borrowing that’s bankrupting our county.”