The Libertarian candidate seeking the open seat in the 20th Congressional District filed twice the required number of signatures on Monday needed to place him on the March 31 special-election ballot.
Eric Sundwall, 41, of Columbia County, said he filed about 7,000 signatures with the state Board of Elections in Albany. To have his name placed on the election ballot he needed at least 3,500 signatures.
If Sundwall’s petitions pass the state’s certification process, his name will be added to those of Republican James Tedisco and Democrat Scott Murphy in the three-way race to fill the 20th District seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand when Gov. David Paterson appointed her to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat.
“To finish a petition drive is a good feeling,” Sundwall said. “It’s the first time I have been home at this time [in the evening] in two weeks.”
Bob Brehm, a state Board of Elections spokesman, said Sundwall brought in his nominating petitions about 12:30 p.m. Monday.
The cover page of the petition package simply stated there were “in excess of” the required number of signatures on the petitions.
Brehm said those interested in challenging the petitions have three days from the time of filing to file general objections and another six days to file specific objections.
As of Monday night nobody had challenged the petitions. The Murphy campaign is not going to challenge Sundwall's petitions, according to a campaign spokesman.
Adam Kramer, a Tedisco spokesman, said he hadn’t seen Sundwall’s petitions and couldn’t comment on whether Tedisco planned to challenge them.
“Jim is focused on creating jobs and placing our country on a road to recovery,” Kramer said about Tedisco, who is currently minority leader in the state Assembly.
Kramer did note that Tedisco was endorsed over the weekend by the New York State Conservative Party as well as 100 local government officials up and down the Hudson River valley.
John Norris, Sundwall’s campaign coordinator, said Monday that it wasn't Sundwall's intention on entering the race as a third-party candidate to help Murphy “split the vote” against Tedisco. He said Sundwall is “not a stalking horse for either candidate.”
“It would be unfortunate for [Sundwall] to be seen as a detractor,” Norris said.
Norris said both Glens Falls businessman Murphy and Assemblyman Tedisco have similar positions on many issues.
“Eric’s positions are significantly different than the two other candidates,” Norris said. Sundwall, who lives in Niverville, near Kinderhook, is an independent information technology consultant.
He said Sundwall’s Web site (www.sundwall4congress.org) outlines the libertarian candidate’s four key issues:
u Foreign policy — end the Iraq War and bring all soldiers home;
u Privacy — protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under U.S. jurisdiction;
u The national debt — don’t increase national debt and burden future generations;
u The Federal Reserve — must be thoroughly investigated and audited for “cozy” relationships with banking.