The Examiner

Board of Legislators’ Candidate’s Nominating Petitions Challenged

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Democrat Daren Tolz, above, who announced his candidacy to oppose County Legislator Margaret Cunzio two months ago, will have to withstand a challenge of his petitions initiated by Valhalla resident Anthony Amiano.

A former legislative aide for a one-time Republican lawmaker has challenged the recently submitted petitions of Democratic Board of Legislators candidate Daren Tolz after he believes he discovered “irregularities” on the paperwork.

Valhalla resident Anthony Amiano is questioning signatures on Tolz’s petitions for the Democratic, Working Family and Women’s Equality party lines. Tolz announced his candidacy in the spring to face incumbent Legislator Margaret Cunzio (C-Mount Pleasant) in the Board of Legislators’ District 3 race this November.

Amiano, who said he submitted the challenge on his own behalf and did not involve Cunzio or her campaign, commented that he found signatures that were illegible and others that did not match the addresses on the voter registration list.

“I’ve been through the process enough times to know that there are certain processes in place at the Board of Elections just to ensure that candidates file a representative number of valid signatures to qualify for the ballot,” said Amiano, who served as an aide to Cunzio’s predecessor, former county legislator Michael Smith, for four years. “So, all candidates for public office should know and follow the law.”

Amiano said he filed the petition challenges for the two minor party lines on July 17, shortly after the July 14 petitioning deadline passed. He said those petitions barely had the requisite number of signatures. He then followed with a challenge of Tolz’s Democratic petition within the past week.

Reached last Friday, Cunzio said she had no knowledge of the challenges and they were not initiated by her.

Tolz said the challenge of the Democratic petition questions more than 300 of the 740 signatures that were collected. If enough signatures would be eliminated it would leave Tolz with less than the approximately 500 valid signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.

He acknowledged that anyone from the public has the right to challenge a candidate’s petitions, but said he is confident that his will withstand the inquiry. Tolz then called the effort “a waste of county resources.”

“Are you really that afraid of me?” said Tolz, an Armonk resident. “I’m a complete newbie and you’re going to start with this nonsense?”

He also refused to believe that Cunzio and her campaign had no involvement in the challenge, particularly after he learned of the challenger’s identity. Tolz then questioned why Cunzio isn’t in control of her own campaign if she was not involved in the challenge.

“It’s the type of politics where you’re going to do whatever you can do,” he said. “I mean, she did a good job of wasting my time. She was very effective.”

Amiano, currently a Valhalla Board of Education trustee, said he strongly supports Cunzio, who he described as a hardworking and nonpartisan lawmaker. He called her “one of the best legislators we’ve had representing our district.”

“Ultimately, if Mr. Tolz is concerned about his lack of community support to this point, maybe he should really reconsider his misguided candidacy,” he said.

Tolz and Amiano said they did not know when the Board of Elections might issue a ruling on the petitions. Since the race is for the general election and neither candidate faces a primary, there is plenty of time for that to occur, Tolz said.



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