NJ officials abandon appeal of judge's Democratic primary ballot redrawing decision.

Philadelphia— New Jersey county clerks have withdrew their appeals to a federal court judgment requiring them to redo primary election ballots that some claimed favored Democratic Party candidates.  

The clerks' action prompted the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeals on Friday.  

U.S. Judge Zahid Quraishi ordered Democrats to remove a ballot that included party-endorsed candidates in a bracketed group on the county line and others outside the bracket. New Jersey is the only state with this primary ballot format.

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim filed the lawsuit to run for the Senate seat occupied by indicted Sen. Bob Menendez, who declined to run in the primary. Republicans are exempt from Quraishi's decree, which applies exclusively to Democrats and the June 4 election.

When asked why she dropped her appeal, Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi said, “I just want to move forward. That’s my focus.” What will happen in future primaries is unclear. Democratic and Republican congressional leaders have said they will examine legislation, but they haven't indicated what it will be.

Kim and two other Democrats challenged the county line primary in federal court. He and many others in New Jersey politics argue that such a system unfairly favors bracketed column candidates and sends non-party candidates to “ballot Siberia.”  

Kim's main Senate opponent was Tammy Murphy, wife of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, when he filed the claim. Kim claimed Murphy was unfairly favored on the ballot because influential county party officials in populated areas supported her.  

Murphy pulled out, leaving Kim the frontrunner. Kim promises to oppose the county line system.  

stay turned for development