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Butler Off Binghamton Mayor’s Race Ballot Following Signature Challenges

Updated: 7/28/21 – 3:45 P.M.

ENDWELL, NY (WSKG) — Kenneth Butler will not appear on the ballot in November’s race for Binghamton mayor following objections to signatures on his nominating petitions, which were considered Tuesday.

Martin Dooley, treasurer of the Binghamton City Democratic Committee, filed objections to 191 of Butler’s 420 signatures.* Broome County Board of Elections Commissioners Dan Reynolds and Mark Smith went through each objection over the course of a two-hour session. They sustained 132 of the objections, putting Butler below the threshold of signatures needed to appear on the November ballot.

"I'm going to keep on trying and I know I have twice as much support as both candidates,” Butler told WSKG.

He said he’ll discuss a further legal challenge with an attorney, but will more likely pursue a write-in campaign for mayor.

Butler criticized Burns, alleging that the city councilman deliberately “undercut” him from the elections process by declaring his candidacy for the Democratic nomination early.

"I knew that he was going to jump the gun and announce that he's running as the Democrat and when he did, that felt like a little blow towards me,” Butler said. “So, it gave me the initiative to keep on running as an independent."

The Burns campaign did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

Burns is a sitting Binghamton city councilman representing the fifth district. Jared Kraham, Executive Assistant to Binghamton Mayor Rich David, is running on the Republican line.

*This story previously indicated the objections were filed by a representative of the Burns campaign. The objections were filed by Martin Doorey, treasurer of the Binghamton City Democratic Committee. Doorey told WSKG Wednesday he is not a representative of the Burns Campaign, nor did the Burns Campaign directly ask him and the Binghamton City Democratic Committee to object to Butler’s independent nominating petitions.

Doorey said he had spoken with Burns’ campaign and it was indicated to him that they were “hoping” the city Democratic Committee would file objections, but that those objections weren’t “prompted” by the campaign.

Broome County Elections Commissioner Dan Reynolds also clarified a statement he made at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting and said the objections were filed by Martin Dooley. A copy of the original objection to Butler’s petitions filed with the Board of Elections provided to WSKG shows Martin Dooley as the only party listed with no mention of Burns.

The audio version of this story which aired Wednesday morning was removed.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.