To the editor:
Elise Stefanik, a Republican candidate for Congress, recently alleged that her primary opponent "played political - and potentially fraudulent - games" during the petition process.
We, the letter writers, were offended by this accusation - because this candidate, whom none of us had ever heard of nine months ago, was questioning our integrity.
Collectively, we logged hundreds of hours canvassing the 21st Congressional District collecting signatures for our candidate, Matt Doheny. We sacrificed time with our husbands and wives, children and friends, and braved freezing temperatures, snow, wind and rain. We got chased by dogs, and one of us even fell down a flight of stairs. All was done to ensure Matt got on the Republican, Independence and Conservative Party lines this fall.
We did it because we like Matt. We like that he grew up here and that he's started his business and his family here. We're impressed that he left college with $150,000 in debt - and, through hard work and determination, made himself into a successful businessman. We like that he saved tens of thousands of American jobs during his career, and that he's still out there trying to help troubled companies regain their footing.
Matt is our guy, and we were happy to make these sacrifices to help him get on the ballot. Our only payment was the gratitude Matt and his wife, Mary, showed toward us for our unyielding effort.
Before the Board of Elections even reviewed the petitions, Matt's opponent was casting doubt on the legitimacy of our effort. Through her lawyer, she said it was "clear that the Doheny campaign was more worried about inflating numbers and not about following the legal petitioning process."
Today, as we write, the Board of Elections has upheld 97.4 percent of Matt's Independence Party petitions. They invalidated just 43 of the 1,666 signatures we collected.
We are vindicated. Unfortunately, Elise Stefanik was allowed to spread her baseless accusations and her lies in media outlets throughout the district.
In her fight to "reveal the truth," the truth became evident: We followed the petitioning process almost perfectly.
Matt's opponent said she challenged the petitions because her campaign was about "right and wrong, and setting a higher standard for service. Being honest in public representation is a critical standard in that regard."
By Elise Stefanik's own standard, she has failed us. She was not honest in how she publicly represented her opponent's petition. They were not "potentially fraudulent." They were not "inflated." They were not attained through "questionable tactics."
We call on Elise Stefanik to put her words to action and issue an apology for misleading the people of the 21st District regarding the validity of her opponent's signatures. Otherwise, we can rightfully assume that Elise Stefanik has no intention of doing what she says - hardly meeting the "critical standard" we look for in choosing our next member of Congress.