Kotary challenges Clarkson's Conservative nomination

Move comes week after Kotary urges supporters to abandon Democratic petition challenge

Democratic Town Supervisor Candidate Kyle Kotary is seeking to invalidate opponent John Clarkson's Conservative Party endorsement on the grounds of improper notarization.

Kotary, on July 22, filed an Article 16 lawsuit seeking to invalidate the certificate of substitution filed by the Conservative Party that would name Clarkson as their candidate in the stead of current Town Supervisor Sam Messina, who had the Conservative Party's endorsement before dropping out in early June.

The suit claims the certificate of substitution was improperly notarized. A copy of the certificate shows the notary public signed the Consent by Substituted Candidate portion of the form but not the "Affidavit" portion.

Last week, Kotary urged his Democratic supporters to abandon a challenge to Clarkson's petition to trigger a Democratic primary. Clarkson said the article 16 filed last Friday runs contrary to Kotary's endorsement of an open, competitive election.

"Last week, in The Spotlight, he said he was looking forward to a hard-fought campaign. I was heartened by that statement," said Clarkson. "I wish the story ended there, but it did not. At the same time he was saying that, he was filing a this lawsuit."

Clarkson questioned the motive of the suit and said he'd rather discuss Bethlehem's budget or other pertinent local issues instead of "waging this type of campaign."

"I'd ask if this lawsuit is in the best interest of the voters of Bethlehem. I'd say that it's not," said Clarkson. "It's disingenuous for Kyle to say that he's looking forward to a hard-fought campaign if he's trying to get me out of the race."

But Kotary says there is a distinction between two Democrats willing to primary for the party's line and "shady, midnight deal" to get the Conservative Party's line.

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