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Democrat Josh Riley’s petition signatures challenged in 22nd District Congressional race

A member of the Onondaga County Democratic committee has filed an objection to the petition signatures obtained by Democratic Congressional candidate Josh Riley in the 22nd District race.

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Diane Dwire’s objection says three members of Riley’s campaign staff are listed as having witnessed petition signatures. Under state election law, third parties must sign statements saying they were present when the petitions were signed and witnessed the signatures. Dwire is alleging that Riley staffers Coby Eiss, Ryan Paolilli and Matt Wolson signed witness statements for signatures they did not actually witness.

Dwire is asking the Board of Elections to invalidate Riley’s signatures. If that were to occur, Riley’s name would not appear on the June 28 primary ballot. Asked by to respond to Dwire’s allegations, the Riley campaign issued the following statement:

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“Josh Riley’s campaign filed nearly 4,000 signatures to get on the ballot in June.  The campaign accomplished that feat through the efforts of over 120 volunteers in all 8 counties across the district, as well as the full-time efforts of campaign staff.  On April 13, Diane Dwire, a member of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee’s leadership team, filed frivolous objections and false statements in response to Riley’s petition in an apparent effort to throw Riley off the ballot in this June’s primary election for Congress. Riley met all the petition signature requirements and will be on the ballot.

We are incredibly proud of and grateful for everyone who carried petitions to get Josh on the ballot and for the nearly 4,000 voters who signed them, which is over three times the necessary threshold for ballot access. It shows that voters are excited about Josh’s bold and hopeful vision for Upstate New York’s future ” said Coby Eiss, Riley’s Campaign Manager. “It is deeply disappointing that the Onondaga County Democratic Committee would resort to these desperate and baseless accusations to try to remove Josh from the ballot and take away voters’ choice.  Elections should be decided by voters in the polling booth, not by the party establishment and political elites in backrooms, and that is especially true given the ongoing threats to our Democracy.

We’ve seen enough politicians making false claims of ‘election fraud’ in recent years.  Upstate New Yorkers deserve better–a campaign that is focused on the issues that matter, not anti-Democratic political games. Our campaign is calling on Francis Conole, the Onondaga County Democratic Committee’s designated candidate, to join us in denouncing the Committee’s actions and demanding that its frivolous objection be withdrawn.

Related: Small donors giving big bucks to Josh Riley campaign in 22nd Congressional District

The Onondaga County Democratic Committee’s baseless efforts to throw Riley off the ballot come shortly after Riley’s campaign has demonstrated significant grassroots momentum.  Riley’s campaign recently was endorsed by Dana Balter (the prior two-time Democratic nominee in NY-24), the Working Families Party, the local chapter of the New York Progressive Action Network, the Cortland County Democratic Committee (where Riley won over 70% of the vote), and Defend the Vote (a major voting rights organization). Riley also reported raising over $360,000 in the first quarter of 2022 – more than any other candidate – with two-thirds of contributions at $50 or less and without accepting a penny of corporate PAC money.”

Related: Democrat Riley receives key endorsements in 22nd District race