A Stalinist era-themed mailer sent out by the Juan Reyes campaign last week depicts his opponent, Councilmember Eric Ulrich, as a Soviet leader and alleges the State Senate hopeful has been picked by the New York Republican party to take the senate seat.
“Comrades! The glorious party leadership has already chosen Comrade Ulrich as your new senator,” the mailer reads. “Do as you are told and obey them.”
Next to the text is a photo of Ulrich dressed like a decorated leader of the Soviet government. Reyes Campaign leader Gerry O’Brien said the torso in the photo was taken from a 1953 photo of Leonid Brezhnev, who led the Soviet Union for nearly 20 years.
The content of the mailer was intended to inform voters of what O’Brien called Albany “Boss-ism.”
The Ulrich campaign did not find the mailer to be in good taste, however.
Spokesperson Jessica Proud noted that the high population of Eastern European immigrants who live in the newly-drawn 15th State Senate District would find the mailer insulting.
“This senate district is home to many Eastern Europeans who fled Soviet oppression for freedom here in the United States,” she said. “For [Reyes] to use images of that horrible period is deplorable.”
O’Brien said he did not think Eastern Europeans would be insulted by the mailer; rather, they would understand it best.
“They’re the kind of people who understands this best – they get it,” he said.
Proud went on to note that the same Soviet-themed had been used for Republican candidates O’Brien has worked with in the past.
One instance was a 2004 mailer accusing then-Democratic Assemblymember Stephen B. Kaufman, who was running for state senate as a Republican, of also being a Republican party selection.
With the exception of the name, the text of the mailer’s cover is the exact same.