With Tuesday's Democratic primary just days away, Assembly candidate Donovan Richards expected to spend this week campaigning for votes.
Instead, he spent the better part of two days in a Queens courtroom while a judge, lawyers for the Queens Democratic Party and Richards' lawyer pored over thick bundles of petitions.
Democrat upstart candidate Donovan Richards awaits primary ruling
Richards is one of several candidates whose petitions were challenged by party leaders, claiming irregularities and fraud.
"I have learned so much more about the system," said Richards, who wants to challenge party-backed incumbent Assemblywoman Michelle Titus.
"A lot of these people who I am battling in the Queens Democratic Party forgot about the principles of democracy," said Richards, who works for Councilman James Sanders.
Queens party leaders have traditionally used their considerable legal muscle to challenge petitions of insurgent candidates.
Opponents claim the legal maneuvers by incumbents and the party make it almost impossible to mount a challenge.