City Council Candidate Margaret Chin Sues Rival, Elections Board

The District 1 City Council race is taking more twists and turns this morning. Once again, there is controversy surrounding the petitions candidates must submit to the city's Board of Elections to get on the ballot. Candidate PJ Kim tells The Lo-Down he is being sued by another candidate in the race, Margaret Chin. According to the Downtown Express, two initial complaints filed with the Board of Elections against Kim's petitions, by individuals with ties to Chin's campaign manager, were dropped. But now, Kim says he was served with court papers Wednesday evening, while attending a "meet the candidate" event at a supporter's home. A check of the New York State Supreme Court's online records confirms that Chin has, in fact, filed suit against Kim and the Board of Elections.

A statement from Kim's campaign theorizes that Chin may have decided to mount the legal challenge after incumbent City Council candidate Alan Gerson was knocked off the ballot due to a technical error because she is "worried by the changing calculus of this race." Gerson is appealing the decision before the Elections Board next Wednesday.  The election rules specify that signatures candidates gather must come from registered voters who live in the district. Supporters of other candidates have alleged that Kim's petitions contain a large number of signatures from outside the district, and are therefore invalid. Another Gerson challenger, Arthur Gregory, also faces a petition challenge – we'll have more on that later today.

Meanwhile, the Downtown Express wades into a discussion that has been percolating online regarding Kim's political past. When Kim was 17, he interned for Republican Bill Frist, the senator from his home state of Tennessee. In 2001, he registered as a Republican in New York. But the newspaper notes he has volunteered for numerous Democratic candidates, including Howard Dean, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.When he moved to Massachusetts to attend Harvard, Kim registered as a Democrat and, when he returned to New York, he changed his registration here. Kim, who's 30 years old, told us how his political perspective has changed in the last decade:

…more life experience, particularly living in New York City after growing up in Tennessee and Louisiana, and my continuing education and exposure have shaped my views about social justice and market failure, balancing equity and efficiency, and the value of inclusiveness over divisiveness – all values that I am proud to advance as a volunteer on numerous campaigns, as a social entrepreneur who has worked in both business and the nonprofit sector, and now, as a candidate for City Council.

There are five candidates running in the 1st District, including Gerson, Chin, Kim, Pete Gleason and Arthur Gregory. We have reached out to Chin's campaign and the Elections Board. More later.