Lawrence Blake Morris Makes the Ballot As Blake Morris

It wasn’t exactly the trial of the century, but it was the litigation of the Brooklyn state election season.

That after State Supreme Court Edgar G. Walker ruled this week that Lawrence Blake Morris was not trying to deceive anybody when he collected signatures to get on the Democratic Party ballot under the name Blake Morris in the upcoming 17th Senate District primary against State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Midwood, Flatbush, Borough Park, Kensington, Sunset Park, Madison, Bensonhurst).

Sen. Simcha Felder

Felder went to court trying to get Morris thrown off the ballot on the grounds that he used his middle name, Blake, and not his first name, Lawrence on his petition sheets. That by using the name “Blake Morris” on his designating petition rather than his full legal name, “Lawrence Blake Morris,” there was an intention to mislead or confuse potential signatories, or did in fact mislead or tend to lead to misidentification or confusion.

But Morris’ ace election attorney, Howard Graubard, brought reams of evidence as well as witnesses to the testify that Morris has indeed used his middle name Blake in many circumstances throughout his life and therefore was not intentionally or non-intentionally trying to mislead any voters as to his real identity.

Blake Morris

The evidence Graubard brought included various credit cards and other miscellaneous memberships which he maintains in the name “Blake Morris,” including American Express, Citibank, Diners Club, Macy’s, AAA, Appalachian Mountain Club, the Brooklyn Museum and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

But the real Law and Order TV show-type dramatic moment came when, Morris’ wife, Ann Morris, testified that she first met her husband in 1998, at which time he was introduced to her as “Blake Morris.” She further testified that, to her knowledge, only her husband’s parents referred to him as either Larry or Lawrence.

In his 10-page ruling, Walker cited several cases where candidates were able to stay on the ballot despite using well-know nicknames, with the most famous Brooklyn case being former Borough President Martin Markowitz being allowed to use his nickname, “Marty” on his petitions to get on the ballot.

Following the ruling, Morris expressed happiness with the vindication.

“I am pleased that the Court recognized the total lack of merit in my opponent’s attempt to subvert my candidacy before we can beat him at the ballot box. You might think that a man who runs on four party lines wouldn’t mind a little competition in the Democratic Primary, but with 5 weeks to go my opponent is feeling the pressure. Thank you to everyone who showed up at the Courthouse to support our campaign, and to everyone who testified on my behalf,” said Morris in an emailed statement.

Felder had no comment.

The primary is Sept. 13.

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