12 September, 2006

Election Eve Controversy Hits 19th District Race



It's been a good clean fight for the Democratic nomination for Congress from New York's 19th District.

But, as we've now reached election day some in the district are crying foul.

The controversy surrounds a phone call allegedly made by a supporter of John Hall yesterday and allegedly approved by the Hall campaign.

In the call made to at least one resident in the district, the Hall supporter alleges that one of Hall's Democratic opponents, Judy Aydelott, - who recently switched parties - has made campaign donations in the past to Republican incumbent Sue Kelly. The caller urges voters to vote for a "true Democrat," and then dismissively refers to the two other candidates in the race - Ben Shuldiner and Darren Rigger - as bright "young men" who are not strong enough candidates to defeat Kelly in November.

Listen to the phone call here .

The call. made yesterday, created a bit of a stir on the Daily Kos blog.

Jim Poinsett, a spokesman for the Aydelott campaign, said Aydelott's contribution in the past to Kelly is public record. But he questions the timing of the call, saying it indicates the Hall campaign may be getting a little tight around the collar:

"I would question the timing of a Karl Rove-esque phone tactic on the 5th Anniversary of 9/11, and it must show that the Hall campaign is seriously concerned that they have squandered all their endorsements by not getting their message out to the voters. Instead of only chatting up Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle, and Pete Seeger, they should have been trying to connect with "Bonnie Smith," "Steve Johnson," and "Pete Williams," and other registered Democrats that will actually vote today.

Meanwhile, Hall campaign manager Amy Little said Democratic leaders throughout the district had been urging the campaign to let the voters know of Aydelott's past support for Kelly and said the community activist who made the calls did come to the Hall campaign to urge that they endorse her efforts to get the word out about Aydelott's past.

Little stressed that there was no personal attack on Aydelott and said she thinks Aydelott needs to earn her Democratic stripes before running for Congreess.

"We commend the fact that she recognizes the abuses of the Bush administration and has decided to join our party." Little said. "That's great!. But it doesn't fare well with Democrats who want real change and want a real Democrat who will be able to stand up to the Bush administration. Judy will be an appealing candidate down the road, but she has been a Democrat for too a short a time."

Aydelott switched her party registration late in 2004.

Thanks to a reader named James for the heads up on this on.


At 1:31 PM, Anonymous James said...

No problem - it certainly does add a little twist. Anyone know what the scope of Hall's controversial robo-call was? Because of the timing, only people who actually got the call will likely be impacted - the media didn't have any time to pick up on the story in time.


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