Friday, January 19, 2007

Race For Open State Senate Seat Triggers War Of Words

NY1 News

For all political junkies out there........this is the stuff legends are made out of...andy

A race for an open state Senate seat on Long Island has triggered a war of words between Governor Eliot Spitzer and his Republican partner in government. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report on the political skirmish. Governor Eliot Spitzer is doing everything he can to narrow a shrinking gap that separates Democrats from holding full power in Albany, even as his relationships with Republicans in the state capital sour quickly. “I'm proud to support candidates like Craig [Johnson] who share that vision -- and I try to do it in a way that isn't vitriolic and mean spirited," said Spitzer. "They're not looking for a monarchy here in NY State -- not this year, not last year, not ten years ago," said State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. Bruno and Spitzer were very collegial when they announced budget reforms earlier this week. But their demeanors shifted when the topic turned to a special State Senate election next month in Nassau County that pits Democrat Craig Johnson against Republican Maureen O'Connell.

If the Democrats win, they will be two seats away from taking that house -- and holding full power in the state capital. Both sides are in full battle mode. The vitriol started after Bruno accused Spitzer of hypocrisy for supporting campaign finance reform, while at the same time fund-raising for Johnson. "I think it's inappropriate, I think it's inequitable,” said Bruno. “I think it's unfair, and I think it's time to step up and tell it like it is." Shooting back exclusively to NY1 on Thursday night, Spitzer showed the flashes of his competitiveness that he has honed in courtrooms. "Joe's language is extraordinarily unfortunate,” said Spitzer. “He's been under a lot of pressure recently, a lot of things going on in his life and that may explain it - and it's too bad. But I think, as a consequence, it's not surprising he's trying to change the topic." It was a clear allusion to an FBI investigation into the majority leader for possibly tying his business practice to government funding. Spitzer made those remarks about Bruno before headlining a fundraiser at an Upper East Side apartment, where the admission price was $25,000 a head. It's not the first time Spitzer lent his star power to the Nassau County legislator. He's appearing in a campaign commercial. On the other side, O'Connell is backed by powerful unions which tend to support the Republican senate majority. The special election is February 6 and it could get even more heated before then. - Josh Robin

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