Mailers muddle 15th Senate District election


| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@AlexBlenkinsopp
Photo courtesy of Twitter/@AlexBlenkinsopp

Residents in the 15th Senate District have been inundated with a string of outside mailers negatively attacking the candidates State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Both Senate District 15 candidates are condemning a string of outside mailers negatively attacking the other.

Online news site Capital New York reported earlier this month that a mailer alleged State Senator Joseph Addabbo was a puppet of billionaire George Soros, a supporter of progressive and liberal causes. The mailer was put out by the Common Sense Common Principles, an Alexandria, Virginia-based political action committee that supports Republican candidates, and had not been endorsed by his opponent, Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Similarly, an anti-Ulrich mailer of uncertain origin stated that

his “extremist agenda” would affect women’s rights. The mailer had not been endorsed by Addabbo.

Jessica Proud, Ulrich for Senate spokesperson, said the campaign does not support any negative or derogatory attacks on a candidate. Rather, campaign officials believe mailers focused on how the Addabbo and Ulrich differ should be enough to inform voters, she said.

“We disavow a negative tone of the campaign, and we have chosen from day one to run an above the board campaign,” she said. “Anything coming out of our campaign has been focused on the [issues]. And we believe that is enough for voters to make an informed choice to make a decision about each candidate.”

Proud added that the campaign cannot control any independent mailers that have been sent out. She noted that some mailers touting Addabbo’s record did not have any information about its sender, or who approved it.

Likewise, Addabbo’s rep Jennifer Galvin said any mailers sent out by the campaign have been focused on the issues, such as gun control and small businesses. Galvin said Addabbo does not support negative campaigning, in any form, and has been focused on the concerns of the district.

“The senator is really against negative campaigning,” she said.

Most of the negative content, on both sides, have been sent out by political action committees that are outside either campaign’s control.

A recently released Siena College poll shows that Addabbo holds a slight lead over Ulrich with less than a month until the general election.

The mailers might not have that much of an effect on potential voters, as some just find them to muddle the electoral process.

Alexander Blenkinsopp, a district resident and active community member, said he’s gotten a number of these mailers attacking both sides. Blenkinsopp, much like both candidates, said these sorts of attacks were unnecessary and tarnished the reputation of both Addabbo and Ulrich.

“These mailers create an unnecessarily negative tone in the state senate race,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate because we have two fine public servants running against each other. There is absolutely no need for mud-slinging. Many people have a negative impression of politics, and when their mailboxes are getting stuffed with this junk, it’s not hard to see why. It’s really too bad.”

Blenkinsopp said these mailers divert from the issues concerning the district in the tightly-contested race.

“A lot of these mailings are just silly,” he said. “They don’t focus on issues that are actually important to our community. And some of them include graphics and themes recycled from two years ago. It feels like outside groups are trying to take this election out of the hands of the voters in this district.”