CORNING | The state Board of Elections has invalidated two petitions to put candidates on the ballot for the June congressional primary, and one of those candidates says he didn’t have any intention to run for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Tom Reed.
The petitions, filed in mid-April, sought to put two Green party candidates on the ballot for the 23rd Congressional District seat.
But one of those candidates, Darin Robbins of Corning, who has previously run for mayor of the city on the Green party line, told liberal news website Mother Jones he’d had no intention of entering the race, and that the petition was submitted without his knowledge.
The petitions were submitted by Aaron Keister, a Corning resident Mother Jones identified as a former employee of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The NRCC confirmed that he’d worked for them, but said he wasn’t employed by the committee at the time the petitions were gathered and submitted.
Mother Jones speculated that the intent was to draw liberal voters away from Democratic candidate Martha Robertson. They said such tactics had been used before in elections.
The petitions were thrown out on technical grounds – the one naming Robbins was submitted late, and the other provided an incorrect address for the candidate.
It’s unclear if submitting the petitions was a violation of election law. While it’s permissible to submit a petition on someone else’s behalf, even without their knowledge, it is illegal to misrepresent your own party affiliation when seeking signatures for a petition.