The chairman of the Broome County Republican Party is characterizing a petition ploy being used by Binghamton Democrats as a "bait and switch" scheme.

Broome County Republican chairman Bijoy Datta in July 2014. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Bijoy Datta reacted to an announcement by Broome Democratic chairman Timothy Grippen that mayoral petitions would be circulated in the city bearing his name as a "placeholder."

Broome County Democratic chairman Timothy Grippen during a radio interview on March 3, 2017. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

In a statement released on Saturday, Grippen said there are "two good candidates" who are seriously considering running for mayor of Binghamton. But he said they need more time before they decide whether to challenge Republican incumbent Richard David.

Grippen asked city Democrats to sign petitions with his name to make it possi for a candidate to launch a late campaign.

Datta described Grippen's move as "unethical and deceptive." He noted Grippen, a former Broome County executive, made it clear he does not intend to run for mayor.

By using the placeholder maneuver, Datta said another candidate could be named by Democrats after petitions have been circulated. He said that candidate might be someone who those who signed the petition might not support.

In a news release, Datta said Grippen knows that "Matt Ryan, Tarik Abdelazim and others associated with their administration are so unpopular that they can't get the minimum number of signatures to make the ballot."

Former mayor Matthew Ryan in recent months has said he was considering mounting a challenge against David. He was prevented from seeking a third term in 2013 because of a term limit law.

For his part, David has said he is seeking a second term and will run on the record he's established since taking office.

Bella Rubinton and Michael Treiman previously announced plans to run as Democratic candidates to challenge David but they dropped out.

Treiman quit a week after he announced his candidacy after he said he had received a series of threats.

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