By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Multiple candidates running for the Congressional seat in District 12, including incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, suspended petitioning last week in order to protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic shortly before the governor suspended all petitioning on Saturday.
Candidates Lauren Ashcraft and Peter Harrison also signed an online petition calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to suspend or reduce petitioning requirements in response to coronavirus fears and the governor signed an executive order suspending the candidate petitioning process on Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the June primaries for Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly and Judicial races. The order also modified signature requirements for ballot access. Candidates will only need to collect 30% of the statutory threshold. For Congress, candidates would need 375 signatures instead of 1,250.
Maloney issued a statement on Thursday announcing that she would be suspending petitioning.
“In yesterday’s Oversight hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts were clear that social distancing is one of the most effective tools we have to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Maloney said. “Petitioning is a contact-heavy process, and it would be irresponsible for my team to put anyone at risk in the process.”
Maloney, Ashcraft, Harrison and Patel all confirmed this week that they had all also pledged not to challenge petition signatures of any of the other candidates running in the race. Patel’s campaign told Town & Village this week that he had no intention of challenging any of the signatures.
“As far as I know, the Governor significantly lowered the petition requirement over the weekend and Suraj has no plans to frivolously challenge petitions,” a spokeswoman for the campaign said. “He’s been focused on the community this week, we’ve been checking in with seniors and holding a Town Hall for Tipped Workers currently without income. Politics isn’t top of mind right now. We’re making sure our neighbors have what they need, and supporting in any way we can.”