By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The bitter race between incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and his Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes, a contest punctuated by sharp exchanges between the two at debates, proved to be hot right to the end.
During the weekend before the election, the two campaigns exchanged accusations of dirty campaigning relating to the effects of Hurricane Sandy and the gasoline shortage.
Chris McCreight, Gounardes’s campaign manager, sent an email to reporters on Nov. 4 drawing attention to a flier he said was being circulated in the Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst portions of the state senate district. The fliers informed residents in those two neighborhoods that Golden was offering vouchers to motorists for free gas, but only to residents in the Bay Ridge end of the district, McCreight said.
The fliers also included a reminder for people to vote, according to McCreight, who called the literature “potentially underhanded campaigning.”
McCreight said it was unclear exactly who was behind the flier, but said it was troubling. The campaign office was inundated with calls from concerned residents, he said.
“We have been telling callers that we do not believe these flyers are real and that we do not know who is behind them. We are concerned that these flyers could cause people to panic and/or pit neighborhood against neighborhood at a time when we all need to work together to recover from Hurricane Sandy. Whoever is distributing these flyers, we urge them to stop now," he said.
Golden’s supporters were livid. John Quaglione, who has worked as a top aide to the senator for more than a decade, fired off an email to reporters from his personal email account, charging that the Democratic challenger was taking “a cheap, deplorable shot at Senator Golden.”
Quaglione said he was particularly angry at the timing of the flier and at the timing of the Gounardes campaign’s 11th hour emails to reporters.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that at a time when all New Yorkers are suffering Andrew Gounardes and supporters would take a cheap, deplorable, shot at Senator Golden. He, along with his staff, have put in 16 hours days, attempting to address the multitude of problems affecting to address the multitude of problems affecting his community and our city,” Quaglione said.
“In fact, this unwarranted political attack during a time of emergency shows that Andrew Gounardes is unfit to lead, or hold public office,” Quaglione said.
Golden, a retired police officer, is running for re-election in the 22nd state senate district, a district that covers the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, and takes in parts of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Geritsen Beach, and Marine Park. Gounardes, a lawyer for the non-profit organization Citizens Committee for New York City, is making his first run at public office.