Removed from the Republican ballot due to a petition error back in April, Ilion's Mayor Brian Lamica and Trustee Chuck Lester have now been kicked off the Ilion First Party line, their own 3rd Party line. Now, short of a spectacular write-in victory in June, the Lamica-Lester administration in Herkimer County's largest village may be about to come to an end.

Lester said Tuesday morning that they had obtained the needed signatures to get on the ballot, but another technicality occurred when they failed to follow an Acceptance or Declaration with the Board of Elections, and as a result they will remain off the ballot.

Lester called the process "garbage" and said that "the rules are ridiculously stringent, it's all about getting signatures until you submit the petitions and then it turns into this technical nonsense." Lester said they failed to submit the letter that they accept or decline the nomination and for that reason, they were invalidated. Lester said he and Lamica are planning a write-in campaign, and hopes to have the same kind of success that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown had when he won a fifth term after inspiring more than 36,000 write-in votes back in November.

"This is why people do not want to get involved," said Lester. "I've gone through two years of hell because of a stupid firefighter who can't follow the rules."  Lester was speaking about an undisclosed conflict that forced the retirement of 3 firefighters in the village, including the Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief, Mike Conover who is running for Village Trustee.

Lester said he and Lamica did not challenge the signatures of their opponents and the reason their petitions were challenged was because the opposition is afraid. "They are cowards, that's all there is to it." Lester said. "John Stephens (running for Mayor), Michael Conover and Kari Allen (running for Trustee) are pure and simple cowards," he said.

A representative of Herkimer County's Republican Party reached out to WIBX and asked for the opportunity to respond. He'll appear on Wednesday morning's Keeler Show.

Ilion's village election is set for Tuesday, June 28.

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