Stefanik primary opponent ends bid after acknowledging having fraudulently filled out petitions

Lonny Koons, an upstate New York trucker and veteran, dropped out of his congressional race Thursday afternoon.
Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
(Bill Clark / Getty Images)

A  GOP primary challenger to New York Rep. Elise Stefanik on Thursday dropped out of the race, saying his campaign was out of money and that he had been informed that he had been fraudulently filling in information on petition sheets. 

The candidate, Lonny Koons, a truck driver and veteran, said he challenged Stefanik, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, because he does not believe she is a true representation of the working-class voters of her district – not because he dislikes her or her politics.

"Ms. Stefanik as a Republican is a great Republican, but she doesn’t represent the middle of our district. We’re the ones scraping by and living paycheck to paycheck, and she wasn’t brought up that way," he told the Times Union in November.

His bid was always a long shot. And in a Facebook post, Koons explained why he was ending his bid in New York's 21st congressional district.

"It has come to my attention that I have been fraudulently filling in information on my petition sheets; I was unaware that by my filling in date and city cells as well as printing names of the signees after the fact that I was committing a fraudulent act," he wrote.

Koons also said he is evaluating whether he will run again for office.