MANHATTAN (CN) - With New York's primary around the corner on April 19, Sen. Ted Cruz need not worry that a court challenge to his eligibility will keep him of the ballot, an appeals court ruled Thursday.
The Texas senator, whose full given name is Rafael Edward Cruz, has faced attacks about his citizenship goaded by longtime birther conspiracy theorist Donald Trump, whose string of victories in the Republican primary race have laid waste to Cruz's White House hopes.
Just as Trump spent years denying records that show Barack Obama was born in the United States, the reality-television star turned his nativist streak in this election on his Cuban-American rival. Cruz's mother was a U.S. citizen who happened to be living in Alberta, Canada, when she gave birth to future Tea Partier, and his father is a native of Cuba.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently pointed out the irony that Obama's citizenship inspired more controversy than that of Cruz, though the Republican only renounced his Canadian citizenship less than two years ago as he hit the campaign trail.
The remarks prompted a rash of largely unsuccessful lawsuits from voters across the country, seeking to push Cruz off ballots in Pennsylvania, New York and Texas, where he thrashed Trump by nearly 20 points.
In Albany, N.Y., Barry Korman and William Gallo filed a petition that a judge there found defective in various ways.
One of those problems, Justice David Weinstein found earlier this month, was that Korman and Gallo missed the three-day window following Cruz's announcement on his candidacy here.
The New York Appellate Division's Third Judicial Department unanimously upheld that finding Thursday.
"Here, with Cruz having filed his certificate of designation on January 26, 2016, petitioners had until January 29, 2016 to file their general objections and until February 4, 2016 to file their specifications," the 4-page opinion states.
"It is undisputed that petitioners did not file their general objections and specifications until February 17, 2016, thus failing to comply with the prescribed time frame set forth in Election Law," it continues.
Roger Bernstein, an attorney for the voters with the firm Eisner & Associates, declined to say whether he would appeal to New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals.
"It's an unfortunate result," Bernstein lamented.
Challenges to his citizenship are not the only hurdles for the Cruz campaign on New York's primary day.
The New York City Police Department's Commissioner Bill Bratton reportedly shot back at Cruz's incendiary calls for patrolling all Muslim neighborhoods by saying: "He doesn't know what the hell he's talking about."
Cruz's lawyer declined to comment, and his campaign did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
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