Koons declares for north country seat in congress again
TOWN OF CROGHAN, New York (WWNY) - Lonny Koons, who abandoned his long-shot run against congresswoman Elise Stefanik after being accused of election wrong-doing, says he is back in the race.
Koons, who lives in the Town of Croghan, said Wednesday he’s seeking people to circulate nominating petitions on his behalf.
“I’m just going to do this as low key, blue collar as possible. I’m gonna rely on people hearing the word and seeing the fact that I’m an average person like them, not some elitist,” Koons told 7 News.
Koons dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination in the 21st congressional district in March after video surfaced which appeared to show him filling out petition sheets fraudulently.
Wednesday, Koons said that’s not what happened. He said he was going through the petition forms and correcting them and making them legible.
“I was dong everything myself, I was in a hurry, and I wasn’t forging signatures. I was going back and writing names above signatures,” Koons said.
Koons says all the signatures he collected were legitimate.
“I’ve had people tell me, ‘Hey you should have stayed in and made her (Stefanik) verify every one of those signatures.’ And she would have looked really stupid when they all came back as ‘Yes, we signed that.’”
Koons said he’s prepared for more attacks from the Stefanik camp.
“She is literally just attacking average people and doesn’t care about us. She cares about her position and the elitists in this country, not us.”
Alex DeGrasse, Stefanik’s senior advisor, said is an emailed statement Wednesday that Koons “illegally forged signatures on video and immediately stopped his campaign because he knows he committed a serious crime and would have more than likely faced jail time had the fraudulent signatures been submitted.”
Koons is a trucker, who lives in the Town of Croghan.
Stefanik has won the district four times, by margins ranging from very large to overwhelming to forget about it. Assuming Koons gets enough signatures to force a Republican primary contest against Stefanik, the winner of that race will go on to face the winner of a Democratic primary, which pits Matt Catelli against Matt Putorti.
“Elise continues to earn massive support across party lines for the results she delivers time and time again for Fort Drum, our farmers, cross-border trade, our schools, and hospitals as well as hardworking families across upstate New York and the North Country,” DeGrasse, from the Stefanik campaign, said.
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