Congressional race: Ryan campaign volunteer challenges Collier petitions in 19th

Erin Collier of Cooperstown was the last to announce her candidacy. (Campaign photo)

A volunteer with Pat Ryan’s congressional campaign has challenged more than 90 percent of the almost 2,500 nominating petition signatures submitted by fellow candidate Erin Collier’s congressional campaign to the state board of elections. No other Democratic petitions were challenged. Seven candidates are seeking the nomination for the Democratic line to run against incumbent Republican John Faso for New York’s 19th Congressional District seat.

According to the state board, Collier, a Cooperstown resident and the last to enter the Democratic primary race, submitted 2,473 signatures, of which 2,189 were challenged by Barbara Sides, a Democratic committeewoman from Gardiner. Ryan lives in Gardiner and was endorsed by its Democratic committee. Sides, along with other committee members, carried his petitions. 


A state elections spokesperson said staff was reviewing the petitions and will make its recommendations to a four-member board of elections commissioners at its next meeting on May 3. A minimum of 1,250 valid signatures are required to be on the ballot for the June 26 Democratic primary. If rejected, Collier has the right to challenge in state Supreme Court.

Collier, in a Kingston Daily Freeman report, claimed the Ryan challenge was meant to deprive a woman of the opportunity to run.

Ryan said Friday his campaign disavows connections with Sides. So did Sides.

Sides, who filed objections to more than 90 percent of signatures submitted by Collier, said via email Friday her challenge “had nothing to do with the candidate [Ryan], but with protecting the integrity of the process.”

Sides, a 15-year member of the Gardiner Democratic Committee, carried petitions for Ryan after the committee endorsed his candidacy for Congress.

“Any registered voter in the district has a right to challenge petitions, and that’s what happened,” Ryan said. “Barbara Sides was one of hundreds of volunteers who carried our petitions. She is not a member of our campaign.”

Sides also filed objections to nominating petitions submitted by Steve Greenfield of New Paltz for the Green Party nomination and by Chad McAvoy on the Women’s Equality Party.

Sides said she filed the objections, which would have required the examination of over 140 pages of signatures, because she said she saw multiple errors. “There were signers form New York City and the Bronx, illegible signatures, people who signed multiple petitions, etc.,” she wrote.
State board of elections staff will review the petitions and make recommendations to its  commissioners within a week, a spokesman said.

Collier is the only woman in the seven-person Dem field. Independent candidates Diane Neal of Hurley and Luisa Parker of Callicoon have also declared. 

Other candidates for the Democratic nomination include Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, David Clegg and Jeffrey Beals of Woodstock, Brian Flynn of Elka Park and Gareth Rhodes of Kerhonkson.