More than 2,000 signatures on Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb’s petition to run on the Congressional District 21 Unites Party line have been challenged in 62 pages of specific objections, according to documents from the state Board of Elections.
Two Republicans, Steve Ramant of Hague and Craig Sweet of Queensbury, found more than 2,500 alleged irregularities with the help of a large team of fellow Stefanik supporters and campaign staff.
“It was a whole team effort,” Ramant said. “It took many, many, many, many hours and a lot of dedicated people.”
Candidates for the CD21 Unites Party need 3,500 signatures to run, according to state Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin, and Cobb rounded up 3,730. If all these complaints are validated by the board, it would drop Cobb’s number back below the threshold.
Ramant and Sweet worked and submitted separately. It is unclear how many objections are redundant, and both submitted 31 pages of challenges each.
Cobb said the challenges were another sign Stefanik is frightened by her campaign and substantial primary win.
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“Running early TV ads, begging President Trump to visit and nitpicking petitions collected by hundreds of volunteers add up to one scared campaign, and for good reason: Elise Stefanik voted to repeal the ACA, which would have thrown 64,000 people off their coverage and closed down rural hospitals while she took hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists for her campaign,” Cobb wrote in an email.
Although it took many hours and helpers to sift through the thousands of signatures, Ramant said finding the irregularities was easy.
“You’d think that the leadership of that person [Cobb] would be able to pass on the proper way to fill out a petition,” he said.
He said they found wrong dates, signatures, towns and signers who were not eligible to vote. The documents contain challenges to signatures because what they assert are wrong or incomplete address numbers; alterations that have not been initialed and dated properly; whiteout on the page; unqualified witnesses; signers who had not registered to vote yet; signers who live outside the district; and signers who had previously signed a petition for another candidate, mostly Don Boyajian, who dropped out of the congressional race to run for state Assembly.
Ramant said he took the time to look through all the documents because he wants to see Stefanik serve in Congress for another term, citing as successes things like her fight to keep 16,000 soldiers and civilian workers stationed at Fort Drum during sequestration.
“I think Elise has done the right thing for the people,” Ramant said. “The perfect example is her vote against the tax bill that just went through Congress, you know that the president signed? She wouldn’t vote for it because they threw out the interest deduction and the property tax deduction. There’s a lot of people up here in the 21st that depend on that.”
“That’s the kind of person we need in office; we don’t need someone who can’t even get their people to fill out petitions properly.”