By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Recorder News Staff
Bids from two independent candidates seeking election in Montgomery County in November have been pulled from the ballot due to an incorrect number of petition signatures.
The county Board of Elections said Tuesday that James Glorioso, who is running against Sheriff Michael Amato, was taken off ballot due to the lack of valid signatures.
Independent candidate and current Montgomery County Legislator Barbara Wheeler, challenging County Clerk Helen Bartone, was also identified as an unqualified candidate.
"For Glorioso, 193 of the signatures were invalid. Wheeler had 20 invalid," Board of Elections Commissioner Jamie Duchessi said Tuesday, adding that a candidate must have a total 646 signatures to be put on the ballot.
With the invalid signatures, both candidates had fallen below the required number.
Signatures can be deemed invalid if the wrong town is listed, the wrong form is used for the petitions, and other reasons, Duchessi said.
Both candidates had submitted their petitions on time but by Aug. 22 Glorioso's petition had been challenged.
Glorioso said he was not surprised to be bumped from the ballot and had already made contingency plans to run as a write-in candidate. In fact, he said, he already has changed his campaign fliers, posters and website from an independent to a write-in candidate.
Glorioso, an Amsterdam resident, is a regional loss prevention manager for a national retail company. He also has 10 years experience as a sheriff's deputy, three of which he spent working for Montgomery County.
He said he decided to run because he wants to use his experience to make positive changes in the sheriff's office.
"People want a choice so I am not quitting on this," he said. "This is a job that I believe in that is going to help everyone. I want to be proactive and there is a completely different line of law enforcement that I want to start here compared to what the county is used to. I fully believe I can take this county to the next level."
He said his next step is to campaign in the county, informing people what a write-in candidate is, and letting them get to know him.
Wheeler did not return calls for comment.
Duchessi said both candidates could announce themselves as a write-in candidate at any time up to the day of the election.
Amato, who is seeking re-election as a Conservative, Independence and Republican candidate, was also challenged last month but his petition has been deemed valid.
Amato, who has been sheriff since 1997, said previously he is running again because he still has things to accomplish.
"There are a lot of things I am working on here and I have a lot of plans for the future." Amato said. "I also think the public wants me to do the job and that is why I am still here."
Bartone, who has been clerk for 23 years, is running as a Conservative and Democratic candidate.