Early trip to court in Congressional race

Dieterich challenges Tonko’s third-party petition signatures


Bob Dieterich


Paul Tonko

— Bob Dieterich is hoping to strike Paul Tonko’s name from the Independence Party ballot line, but Tonko is confident his name will remain.

Dieterich filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County last week challenging incumbent Rep. Tonko’s Independence Party petition. Dieterich’s campaign is seeking to invalidate 52 out of 167 pages of Independence designating petitions, which it claims would result in Tonko falling below the minimum required amount of signatures. If Dieterich’s lawsuit were successful, the Independence ballot line would be empty.

After appearing before a judge, the campaigns are now waiting on a ruling.

“Upon close scrutiny, we found that hundreds of Rep. Tonko’s signatures were invalid and, as a result, he will not have the necessary signatures to secure the line in this year’s election,” James Walsh, attorney for Dieterich, said in a statement.

Clinton Britt, spokesman for Tonko, isn’t worried about the legal action.

“[Tonko] is confident he will maintain the Independence Party line,” Britt said. “He was both endorsed by the party and then received the requisite number of signatures, a couple hundred above and beyond what was required.”

Dieterich remained “confident” the court would side in his favor.

“We are not trying to make it into a fight,” Dieterich said. “We feel that he should have followed the laws and the rules.”

Dieterich made a bid for the Independence Party line but failed to secure the party’s nomination and also didn’t gather enough signatures to force a primary.

The lawsuit includes seven points contesting how signatures were collected.

Two claims are the cities of Schenectady and Troy don’t have the authority to issue commissioners of deeds because their respective counties fall below the population requirement of more than 180,000. Schenectady County’s population is more than 25,000 below the required amount and Rensselaer County’s is more than 20,000 under the requirement, according to the lawsuit.

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NY20thMom 3 years, 8 months ago

It is so sad that a man like Paul tonko, who has been in political office for well over 30 years, does not feel the laws apply to him. This is exactly the problem which lifelong politicians and why we need to vote them out. Best of luck to Bob Dieterich for taking on big money, out of touch politicians like Paul Tonko. We need more citizen legislators like him!


ConstitutionDoesMatter 3 years, 8 months ago

Election laws have to be followed. This ruling should be a no brainer. Tonko has to lose the Line.


NYmom 3 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately stories like this are no longer surprising. Cheating has become commonplace. NY-20 wants honest politicians, not people who think the rules only apply to other people. The ends do not justify the means.


Truthseeker 3 years, 8 months ago

Congressman Tonko should know better -- his campaign should know better -- anybody should know better! Even brand-new beginning level amateurs know better than to prepare petitions incorrectly and then expect that nobody will notice it! The board of elections are literally bursting with information, and I've never read anything in it that suggests that a campaign is supposed throw as much mud on the wall as it can to see if it will stick! It is time to vote out the old timers like Paul Tonko.


Follow_The_Law 3 years, 8 months ago

Sad??? It's not just sad, it's un-American and a new trend of servants from all three of OUR branches of government. This trend, whether intentional, conspiratorial, or not, has resulted in a collective attempt (and increasingly successful one at that) to take over our government as per our great American republic rules of law and also per 18 USC §2385.

The people must rise and take back our government, hopefully through peaceful means.

I grew up as a Democrat and I am appalled at what they have become as we watch them act like we are their subjects, just as Hitler did.

This is serious. We must remove these imposters (acting as if they are our servants) TODAY!


TeddiSmith 3 years, 8 months ago

Election laws and rules should be followed by all. If Tonko did not get enough legal signatures on his petition to run under the Independence Party, then Tonko's name cannot appear on the ballot under the Independence Party line. Simple!


Follow_The_Law 3 years, 8 months ago

The laws are no brainers. The problem is that many, not just a few, judges truly believe that they are empowered to do as they please. The reason is that they no longer have anyone to answer to (no honest oversight). We The People have the power though to remove them from office without the need of an election when they act as if they are taking over by applying their own laws.



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