Republicans in the heavily Democratic 37th Legislative District will have just two names on the June primary ballot after Assembly candidate Robert Bedoya was eliminated from the ballot this morning thanks to challenge petition from his running mate in the Senate.

Bedoya, a Republican county committeeman from Fort Lee, filed for the Assembly in Bergen County with 126 signatures, 26 more than needed. But Dierd Paul, who ran for senate in the same district, argued that a large number of them – perhaps as many as 87 – were invalid.

The petition was appealed by Administrative Law Judge Joan Candido, who found that at least 27 of Bedoya’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, bringing him below the 100-signature threshold. Bedoya has refused to voluntarily withdraw from the race, so Candida will soon issue a formal ruling removing him from the ballot.

Bedoya business card with the slogan QAnon WWG1WGA (Where We Go One, We Go All).

It is not unusual for someone to seek to exclude a member of their ticket from the ballot; Technically, Paul and Bedoya shared the Republican line in Bergen with fellow Assembly candidate Kathryn Lebovichs. But Bedoya, who lost the campaign for the school board last year, is a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory that has seemingly led Paul to take a principled stand against him.

This morning, Bedoya was confused by the nature of the challenge; he asked if Paul’s signatures were also disputed before being informed that it was Paul who was being disputed him.

‚ÄúDierdre put mine down [signatures] under challenge?” said Bedoya. “Even though we work together, we have to work together.”

With 37th District Republicans left with just one Assembly candidate on the June primary ballot, it’s possible that Bedoya or someone else will mount a write-in campaign to finish second. To succeed, they would need 100 votes, which is the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot.

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