Third-Party Candidate Kicked Out Of Special Election — Who Benefits?

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The very tight special election for Kirsten Gillibrand’s former House seat ran into another wrinkle yesterday, with Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall getting kicked off the ballot with only days to spare, after the State Elections Board ruled that he didn’t have enough valid petition signatures under the law’s strict requirements.

The complaint was brought by two voters who were registered with New York’s Republican and Conservative parties.* As such, some Democrats believe this was really engineered by the GOP side. As one Dem source told us: “The only reason the Republicans fought to keep Eric Sundwall off the ballot is because they knew he was stealing from their flawed candidate’s fading support.”

Adam Kramer, the spokesman for Republican candidate Jim Tedisco, denied that their campaign had any involvement. “Jim welcomed Mr. Sundwall to the race,” said Kramer. “Our campaign was not involved in the complaint against Mr. Sundwall’s petitions.”

One Republican source told TPM that the board’s decision was probably helpful to their side, but on the other hand there are people who would have voted for a third-party candidate because they didn’t like either of the major two.

(*Note: New York uses a fusion voting system, leading to the proliferation of smaller parties who supplement and often work within the big two.)

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