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Tipsheet

Media in Stefanik's District More Upset About Candidate Getting Caught Committing Voter Fraud Than Voter Fraud

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Journalists in Rep. Elise Stefanik's (R-NY) district in upstate New York showed their priorities when it comes to opposing members who dare to still support former President Donald Trump. Lonny Koons, a NeverTrumper Republican, had announced a primary challenge to Stefanik, who first ran and won in 2014. Koons dropped out on Thursday, though, after he allegedly filled out petitions fraudulently. 

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Henry Rodgers for The Daily Caller first reported on the story on Thursday, complete with footage of Koons, which is available on YouTube

Rodgers tweeted an update soon after that not only did Koons suspend his campaign, but he did not deny the allegations. 

Matt also covered the incident earlier on Friday, highlighting the importance of election integrity. 

Jerry Moore, the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times, located in Watertown, which is in Stefanik's district, raised issue with people "following Lonny Koons around and videotaping him[.]" He went on to ask if "these people have nothing better to do with their lives?"

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Alex Gault, a reporter with NNY360 & Watertown Daily Times, which is also in the district, emphasized in his tweet that Koons' actions were "only a crime if he turns those petitions in, which he has not."

Those Rodgers spoke to emphasized a different aspect though, which is that Koons was committing a felony:

The Daily Caller spoke to state officials who said they were shocked by the videos and said Koons was committing a felony.

Dutchess County Republican Elections Commissioner Erik Haight told the Caller, “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. 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,” said Haight. “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.

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In a statement for Townhall, Alex deGrasse, who also retweeted Rodgers' coverage, pointing out how Koons was committing a crime, focused on the very specific reaction from local media. "There is a reason the NY21 local papers continue to fail. When a candidate for office is found illegally **FORGING** petitions, they criticize & blame Elise Stefanik for saying that it is illegal. The media’s obsessive Elise Derangement Syndrome is a sickening and desperate disservice to readers," he noted with original emphasis. 

Rep. Stefanik has faced issues with the local press before, including a sexist segment last August when two men on local news outlet WCAX questioned whether her pregnancy and absence could "hurt her role in the Republican Party."

In February of 2020, Ken Tingley, editor for The Post-Star, wrote several columns going after Stefanik, including those claiming the congresswoman cheered on violence against the press. A statement at the time from Rep. Stefanik pointed out that this came despite how Tingley was in attendance at a community event where Stefanik condemned such violence. 

Brian Mann, an NPR reporter, has had lengthy Twitter threads against Stefanik, on multiple occasions

Jerry Moore, whose tweets are included above, has also gone after Stefanik over the years

The local press clearly has a bone to pick about Rep. Stefanik, with some attacks being personal and beyond the pale. The way they choose to cover her former primary opponent is just one example, and we've got the receipts. 

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