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Doheny petition passers call on Stefanik to apologize for “false accusation”

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In a letter to the editor of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, four of the people who helped pass petitions for Republican congressional candidate Matthew A. Doheny called on Mr. Doheny’s opponent, Elise M. Stefanik, to apologize for comments her campaign made when it challenged Mr. Doheny’s Independence Party and Conservative Party petitions.

“Elise Stefanik, a Republican candidate for Congress, recently alleged that her primary opponent ‘played political — and potentially fraudulent — games’ during the petition process,” wrote Watertown residents Jude Seymour and Meredith George, Adams resident and Jefferson County legislator Jeremiah Maxon and Carthage resident Brian Peck.

“We, the letter writers, were offended by this accusation — because this candidate, whom none of us had ever heard of nine months ago, was questioning our integrity,” they wrote.

On April 22, James Walsh, an attorney for Ms. Stefanik’s campaign, issued a statement on behalf of his client.

“Unfortunately, after reviewing the petitions submitted and notarized by the Doheny campaign for the Independence and Conservative Party Lines, it became very clear that the Doheny campaign was more worried about inflating numbers and not about following the legal petitioning process. That is misleading to the voters, compromises the process, and reinforces a troublesome pattern of legal transgression. We also believe it will ultimately disqualify the Doheny campaign from the unqualified right to the Independence Party line,” Mr. Walsh wrote.

The letter writers took issue with this description of the petition process, asserted that Ms. Stefanik had misled voters with her attorney’s statement and called on her to apologize for her rhetoric.

“We call on Elise Stefanik to put her words to action and issue an apology for misleading the people of the 21st District regarding the validity of her opponent’s signatures. Otherwise, we can rightfully assume that Elise Stefanik has no intention of doing what she says — hardly meeting the “critical standard” we look for in choosing our next member of Congress,” they wrote.

The New York state Board of Elections ruled that both Ms. Stefanik’s and Mr. Doheny’s Republican Party ballot petitions were valid and that Mr. Doheny’s Independence Party petitions were valid and Ms. Stefanik’s Conservative Party petitions were valid.

Mr. Doheny’s Conservative Party petitions were invalidated by the Board of Elections and Ms. Stefanik’s Independence Party petitions were invalidated.

Mr. Doheny has been endorsed by the state Independence Party while Ms. Stefanik has been endorsed by the state Conservative Party.

The two candidates will face each other in a June 24 primary. According to state elections law, both candidates will appear on the ballot in November on the minor party lines no matter who wins the Republican primary.

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