Candidates must do more to control their parties' negative campaigning
Anyone who runs in a race against a Schenectady Democrat has to have pretty thick skin. Either that or some kind of death wish.
Just as the clocks get turned back after Halloween every year, Schenectady voters can pretty much count on a nasty piece of anti-Republican literature to mysteriously arrive in their mailbox right before Election Day. No one ever seems to know, or be willing to say, just who produced it or how it got there. And this year was no exception, with two of the party’s three candidates for City Council renouncing it in no uncertain terms in Saturday’s Gazette.
That’s better than if they’d remained silent about it, as candidates have done in the past, but the damage was already done, and it’s high time these Democratic candidates did more than just wring their hands after the fact. They need to address this issue beforehand, by flatly telling the people responsible for the lies and innuendo that they won’t tolerate negative campaigning. Moreover, they should insist on the right to see any piece of party-generated literature before it’s disseminated and to veto anything they deem offensive. It may be a slightly unorthodox way for candidates to deal with those who’ve anointed them, but clearly, nothing else seems to have worked in Schenectady.
When a frustrated candidate is told by a party boss, as Councilman Carl Erikson says he was, that a scurrilous attack ad on his behalf “has nothing to do with you,” it’s pretty clear how little regard such a boss has for the candidate. However flattering it may be for a political neophyte to be courted by his party and endorsed as its candidate, he has to be careful not to sell his soul, inadvertently or not, in the process.