Politics

Republican Candidate Who Dropped Out After Allegedly Forging Petition Signatures Announces He Is Back In Race

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Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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A never-Trump Republican in New York who dropped out of a Congressional race after he was allegedly seen forging petition signatures has decided to redeclare his intent to run for Congress.

Lonny Koons, who is trying to primary challenge New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in the states 21st district, announced Wednesday that he will jump back in the race. The announcement comes just months after the Daily Caller posted a video of Koons, who can be seen writing down several petition signatures. Koons has denied forging signatures.

“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.

The day the two videos were filmed he said on social media that he was in Ticonderoga and “obtained a healthy number of petition signatures.”

On March 12, Koons posted a letter on Facebook that he sent to the Working Families Party of New York. In the letter, he states that he is “primarying Ms. Elise Stefanik for the republican nomination” and goes on to ask why the Working Families Party is describing him as a supporter of former President Donald Trump.

The Working Families Party is a far-left socialist political organization that stands for Defunding the Police, the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Never-Trump Candidate Seen Allegedly Illegally Forging Petition Signatures In Parking Lot In Effort To Run Against Elise Stefanik)

The organization which Koons founded, Blue Collar Politics, has also been vocal in supporting a “True ‘Green’ Movement,” “Universal Healthcare for All,” and “police reform.”

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The Daily Caller spoke to a state official who said he was shocked by the videos and alleged that Koons was committing a felony.

“I watched the video several times. Honestly, in disbelief. It’s shockingly brazen. It’s such a violation of the public’s trust to be forging voter’s signatures on an official document that eventually is going to be filed with the government entity, the State Board of Elections,” Dutchess County Republican Elections Commissioner Erik Haight told the Caller. “And he’s perpetrating a fraud on the electoral system. Frankly, if this candidate files those petitions, he should be prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law and it is a felony, and every time he affixes someone else’s signature to his petition.”

“It’s a crime,” Haight continued. “And frankly, if he does file these fraudulent petitions, he’s playing with fire and people have been imprisoned for that crime,” Haight continued.

Haight also serves as the chairman of the Republican Commissioners Caucus of the Elections Commissioners Association.

“Well, again, having watched that video several times. You know, because I don’t accuse people of crimes lightly. And if I wasn’t certain that he was committing a felony by forging those peoples signatures, I wouldn’t say it. The video speaks for itself. It is shockingly obvious that he’s forging their signatures. To deny it is to deny a fact,” Haight added.

Stefanik’s Senior Advisor Alex DeGrasse slammed Koons’ actions, saying he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and called his actions “a serious crime.”

“Lonny 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. Forging the names of voters is a serious crime that goes to the heart of why election integrity is so important,” DeGrasse told the Caller.

“Congresswoman Stefanik has represented and won NY’s 21st District by historic margins every election since she first ran for Congress. 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,” he added. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Historic Year For Republicans’ — A Look Inside House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s Efforts To Win Back The Majority)

When the Daily Caller contacted Koons in March about the video of him allegedly forging petition signatures, he responded by saying he was dropping out of the race.

“I have been preparing a press release of my own to announce that I am suspending my campaign due to a lack of funds and that I cannot afford to stay afloat because I have been on disability for 6 plus weeks at half my pay,” Koons said.

“I will reevaluate a future run but currently I cannot afford to stay in this race and need to get back to work as am by definition, blue collar. As for Ticonderoga Walmart; I was indeed in my car filling out paperwork; some in regards to my campaign and some in regards to the disability issues I have been dealing with MetLife and the Hartford improperly paying my disability due to rotate cuff / bicep surgery. I had received a very good reception in Ticonderoga and had spoken to quite a few local businesses that support the idea of an average American trying to stand up,” Koons added.

The Daily Caller contacted Koons after hearing he was jumping back in the race, to which he did not immediately respond.