Tonkin to stay on ballot

| 10 Sep 2015 | 01:05

By Nathan Mayberg
A judge has rejected a suit brought by a group Pike County Democrats to prevent District Attorney Ray Tonkin from appearing on the Democratic Party line in his re-election bid this November.

Monroe County Judge Linda Miller dismissed the case in court last week. She presided over the case in place of Pike County Judge Joseph Kameen, due to the political nature of the lawsuit.

Tonkin, a registered Republican, lost a Republican primary against challenger Kelly Gaughan in May.

However, Tonkin won a write-in primary on the Democratic Party line over Gaughan.

The Pike County Democratic Committee has declined to endorse Tonkin.

Five Democrats, including Pike County Democratic Committee members Kimberly Reno and James Slevin, filed suit to remove Tonkin from the ballot for not paying an additional $100 filing fee with the Board of Elections to be on the Democratic line.

Larry Otter, an attorney representing Tonkin, argued that the $100 filing fee Tonkin paid to run for the District Attorney's Office as a Republican was sufficient. Otter said the law only required Tonkin to pay one filing fee for the office he was running for, no matter how many party lines he was on.

Eric Hamill, an attorney who represented the petitioners in filing the suit, argued that the separate fee had to be paid by Aug. 10, or Tonkin should be removed from the ballot. Miller agreed with Otter, dismissing the case.

"As I said all along, I believe when all of the facts came out that I would prevail in that frivolous action," Tonkin said.

Otter said the challenge by the Democrats "had no basis in law or fact."

"The case was properly dismissed," Otter said.

Unless the petitioners file an appeal and win, Tonkin and Gaughan will both appear on the ballot this November.

A message left with Hamill was not returned.

Tonkin is preparing for the death penalty trial of Eric Frein, who is accused of shooting two state troopers in an ambush last year outside the State Police barracks in Blooming Grove last year.

Tonkin said the case is still in the pre-trial stages.

Two associations of state troopers have endorsed Gaughan in the race.

Reporter Nathan Mayberg can be reached at 845-469-9000 ext. 359 or by email at