Warwick resident Lauren Vitkovsky wants fellow Warwickian Mary Collura to know one thing: It wasn't personal; it was just political business.
According to a letter from the Orange County Board of Elections, Collura, who is running for Village of Warwick trustee, was disqualified due to problems with her petition, following a challenge by Vitkovsky.
The total sustained objections numbered 75, according to the board.
"I don’t know Mary, I have not met her yet," Vitkovsky said. “I’ve never heard anything bad about her at all. It’s just that when you get petitions signed you have to do things the correct way.”
A friend of candidate Corey Bachman's campaign manager, Christine Stage, Vitkovsky said she spotted problems with Collura's petition when she posted a picture of it on Facebook.
"The reason I know how to fill out a petition is because I’m a member of the committee," she said. “I’ve done this for several years and I know what to look for.”
Vitkovsky is the recording secretary for the Town of Warwick Democratic Committee.
The issues with Collura’s petition led her to file a general challenge to all the candidates running, Vitkovsky said.
When reached by phone, Collura confirmed the disqualification and said she was in the process of putting together a statement to address the situation.
“You can imagine there’s a lot of emotions and feelings,” she said. “I just need to get my thoughts together.”
Stephen Kitar said that although his candidacy was challenged, he ultimately survived.
"It seems like one of the candidates, Corey Bachman is behind it," he said. “It’s a sneaky tactic. I welcome competition, as long as it’s fair and open. We’re still in the race.”
Bachman said that he was not involved with challenging other candidates’ petitions, but that challenges during campaign season were fairly common.
"This is just part of the process," he said. “I wasn’t objected to, but any candidate could have objected to my petitions.”
According to Vitkovsky, she is not affiliated with any campaign.
Collura's disqualification disappointed Kitar.
"Frankly I’m kind of upset,” he said. “I’m upset about the tactics that some people resort to. I would like to see more people running, more choices given. I think we can all benefit from it.”
According to Village of Warwick Clerk Raina Abramson, no other candidates' petitions were deemed invalid by the county board of elections.
The remaining field includes Stephen Kitar, Alfonso Gonnella, Barry Cheny and Corey Bachman, according to Abramson’s office.
Voters will head to the polls Wednesday, March 18, to cast their ballots for two village trustees in the general village election.
The offices carry four-year terms.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Goodwill Hook & Ladder Co. located at 25 Church Street Extension.