Watson drops out of NY-21 Democratic primary | News, Sports, Jobs

Ezra Watson dropped out of the Democratic primary for the 21st congressional district on Monday after failing to collect the necessary signatures on nomination petitions to be on the ballot.

His departure leaves just two candidates in an original field of four candidates for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville.

The two remaining candidates are Matt Castelli, a former CIA counterterrorism official from the city of Saratoga, and Matt Putorti, a Whitehall lawyer.

Bridie Farrell, the fourth original nominee, dropped out of the race in February.

“I commend Mr. Watson on his campaign to secure the Democratic Party nomination to challenge one of the most dangerous politicians in the country. I look forward to working with him and his supporters to continue this effort,” Putorti said in a statement.

But Watson, a technician in the semiconductor industry who lives in Wilton, is not looking to collaborate with another Democratic candidate.

Watson said he still hoped to run in the general election as an independent, which would give progressives an alternative to voting for the Democratic nominee and, perhaps, disgruntled Republicans voting in protest.

“I had Republicans wanting to sign my (Democrat) nomination petitions – pretty weird,” he said in a telephone interview on Monday. “That’s the way I’m going to do it.”

“We welcome self-proclaimed socialist Ezra Watson to the race as an independent,” said Alex Degrasse, senior adviser to Stefanik. “It’s clear that Democrats upstate and upstate are in freefall as they viciously and desperately clear the ground for their chosen far-left Democratic nominee,” he said. added. a reference to Castelli, the candidate supported by the party.

Watson acknowledged that getting elected as an independent is even more difficult than in a recognized party, but he will have more time to complete the task.

To run on a party line, 1,250 valid signatures from party members are required, while to run as an independent, 3,500 valid signatures are required, but signatures can be from any registered voter provided the voter has not signed any other nomination petitions in the race, according to the State Board of Elections.

Candidates can begin circulating independent nomination petitions on April 19, to be filed the last week of May.

“We are a little tired and exhausted, but I think it will give us time to rest, regenerate and run on a platform instead of a party,” said Watson. “Many people resonate with climate action and support regenerative agriculture,” he said.

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