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Republican Lonny Koons suspends NY-21 campaign

Republican candidate Lonny Koons in Saratoga Springs
Lucas Willard
Republican candidate Lonny Koons in Saratoga Springs

A candidate challenging fellow Republican Elise Stefanik in New York’s 21st Congressional District is suspending his bid.

A campaign website and social media posts for Lonny Koons, an Army veteran and truck driver, were found scrubbed on Friday morning. The Stefanik campaign shared an article from the conservative Daily Caller website Thursdaythat included an uncredited video of what appears to be Koons filling out voter petition forms in his vehicle. A description of the video uploaded to YouTube Thursday says it was filmed on March 24th in Ticonderoga.

In the article, Koons says he cannot afford to stay in the race and that he has been out on disability. Koons said he was preparing his own press release to announce the suspension of his campaign and adds in part:

“I was indeed in my car filling out paperwork; some in regards to my campaign and some in regards to the disability issues I have been dealing with…”

A campaign statement for Stefanik, the number three House Republican, said in part:

Any candidate filing for federal elected office should be held to the highest standards of election integrity.”

Koons replied to a WAMC request for comment with an official statement Friday evening. Koons said in an email he “did not falsify signatures or alter signatures in any way” and said he was withdrawing due to the appearance of fraud that he said he is not guilty of.

In his campaign statement, Koons writes in part:

“I was unaware that by me filling in date and city cells as well as printing names of the signees after the fact that I was committing a fraudulent act. I had obtained greater than the number of signatures required but in order to have the paperwork filled out properly; I do not have the time.”

According to New York State elections law, the voter need only sign the appropriate line on a petition sheet. It is not illegal for other voter information to be filled in by someone else.

The period for filing designating petitions in New York primary elections begins Monday. Three Democrats remain in the field.

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