Don Lee says his case against Rep. Bill Owens' attempts to get a third-party ballot line would have won on the merits.
There was just one problem. The law states that Mr. Lee couldn't be the one to challenge that effort, so the lawsuit was withdrawn, clearing the way for Mr. Owens to appear in November on the Working Families Party line.
"It’s a technical error on my part," said Mr. Lee, who, as a party chairman, could not file a judicial challenge against a candidate's petitions if there is no contested primary. "The reasons for the challenge and the suit were valid. The person doing the challenge can’t be me."
Mr. Lee is the GOP party chairman in Clinton County, and a supporter of Republican Matt Doheny in his Nov. 6 effort to unseat Mr. Owens, a Democrat of Plattsburgh.
"We were confident our Working Families signatures would stand," Owens campaign manager James Hannaway said in an email. "Now we can continue to visit every corner of the district, spreading our positive message of job creation."
Third-party lines can make or break a candidacy in tight elections, as the race for the 21st Congressional District of New York is destined to be.