GLOVERSVILLE – Records from the Fulton County Board of Elections show Republican mayoral candidate William Rowback Jr. filed an objection against fellow Republican Arthur Simonds’ petition to run in the GOP primary for city councilman-at-large against retired sheriff’s deputy Wayne Peters.
Fulton County Democratic Election Commissioner Gerry Ryan said under New York state election law Section 6-154, objecting to petitions is a two-step process.
“Anybody can file an objection within three days of the end of the nominating period,” Ryan said. “They then have to send a written objection with specific reasons within six days of filing the objection, if they miss the deadline the objection is null.”
Elections board documents show objections were made to four of the 91 political party petitions filed with the board in March: two by Rowback and two by Fulton County Republican Chairwoman Susan McNeil.
Rowback only started the process to object to Simonds petition — he didn’t follow through with a formal written objection challenging a specific part of his petition. Rowback did successfully file a written objection to the Democratic Party petition of Black Lives Matter activist Lashawn Hawkins.
Hawkins had hoped to run on the Democratic Party line for Gloversville councilperson-at-large after receiving a 7-2 vote of the Gloversville City Democratic Committee authorizing her to run as a Democrat, even though her voter registration indicates no party affiliation and she missed the Feb. 14 deadline to re-register as a Democrat. Rowback objected to Hawkins having written that she was a Democrat on her petition form, and the Fulton County Board of Elections threw out her petition on Tuesday on the basis of Rowback’s challenge.
Hawkins has indicated she will begin circulating a petition to run as an independent starting on April 13, with petitions due back to the Board of Elections between May 18 and May 25.
McNeil started the process of objecting to the Democratic Party petitions filed by two town of Stratford council seat candidates – Allicia Rice and David Marshall. McNeil did not follow through with a written objection for either petition.
Simonds, who serves as the 2nd Ward councilman on the Common Council, was the only Republican candidate to have his petition challenged. He said he wasn’t surprised his fellow council member Rowback — the current councilman-at-large — would try to get his petition thrown out. He said he also wasn’t surprised Rowback was unable to follow through on the petition challenge.
“It wasn’t surprising to me, and the reason I say that is because I thought that the Republican Committee was going to try to do that because I feel they wanted to discredit me, so they can get by me and get their man in without any effort,” Simonds said. “I knew they wouldn’t find nothin’, because I checked it over three times when I turned it in, so I made sure it was perfect. When they have somebody they don’t like they challenge them. I’ve never [had a political petition] challenged before.”
Rowback and McNeil introduced political newcomer retired sheriff’s deputy Wayne Peters as the Republican candidate for councilman-at-large on March 2. Peters and Simonds will square off in the Republican primary for councilman-at-large on June 22.
Simonds said he decided to challenge Peters because the Gloversville Republican Committee chose not to ask any of the elected Republicans on the Common Council whether they were interested in running for councilman-at-large. He said he also hopes to rally Republican support for incumbent Democratic Mayor Vincent DeSantis.
“I’m a Republican, and I’ll always be one, but they’re upset with me because I’m working with Vinnie [DeSantis] to try to make the city better and they don’t want me to do that — they want me to challenge him at every turn, which I’m not going to do,” Simonds said. “I’m also going to do an independent party petition to run as part of Vinnie’s “Gloversville Party” ticket, and I’m sure we’ll win.”
Simonds said he believes people in Gloversville are fed up with the political maneuverings of the two major parties.
“I think things are changing in politics in Gloversville, and that we’re going to have just two parties,” he said. “We’re not going to have just two parties, we’re going to have a third party — the Gloversville Party — a party that’s not interested in politics down in Washington D.C. or Albany, but is interested in local politics and how things grow and prosper.”
Rowback did not return phone calls seeking an interview for this story.