Dieterich takes Tonko’s Independence Party petitions to court

By David Lombardo – May 9, 2012

The 20th Congressional race is heading to court. Republican challenger Bob Dieterich has filed a civil lawsuit against U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam.

The suit, filed in Saratoga County on April 27 by attorney James Walsh, alleges that Tonko’s Indepence petitions should be invalidated due to a number of procedural errors and violations made while collecting signatures from Independence Party voters.

The challenge cites people who signed Tonko’s petitions after already having signed Dieterich’s. It also alleges that come of Tonko’s signatures were collected by volunteers not eligible to serve as commissioners of deeds.
“We are confident that our legal challenge will be upheld and that Rep. Tonko will not be the Independence Party candidate who appears on the ballot in November,” Walsh said in a statement.
“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.”

The Dieterich campaign also noted that the Tonko campaign had the appointments of 10 commissioners of deeds blocked because they incorrectly listed their working adress as their home address. On April 19, the Dieterich campaign filed objections with the state Board of Election regarding Tonko’s Independence Party petitions.