Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo defeated primary challenger Zephyr Teachout by a narrower-than-expected margin. And now that the circus that was the Democratic primary is over, we can move on to the bigger and more exhausting circus that is the general election. On November 4, Cuomo will face off against Republican Rob Astorino, who’s already accusing the governor, and Democrats in general, of dirty pool. Capital New York reported yesterday that Astorino and Co. are furious about an ad, paid for by the Erie County Democratic Party, that mocks the Republican for being a fan of the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills’ biggest rivals. It uses an Astorino family photo of the man wearing a bright blue Dolphins shirt. In the original photo, though, Astorino’s son, Sean, stood in front of his father; the ad edited the boy out of the picture.
Here’s the ad, posted to YouTube by Capital reporter Jimmy Vielkind:
Erie County Democratic Party executive director Erich Weyant told Capital that the ad was meant to be “lighthearted,” and that Astorino’s son was edited out because the organization “would never put a candidate’s child in a spot without their permission.” But Astorino promptly issued a statement showing the original photo, which features an adorable, towheaded seven-year-old Sean standing in front of his dad, and calling the ad “beyond the pale.”
“Andrew Cuomo’s negative advertising already knew no bounds, but to erase my son from a cherished family photo is wrong and personally hurtful,” the statement read, in part. “If Governor Cuomo wants to keep running false ads against me with his pay-to-play millions, that’s his business, but doctoring my family photos is beyond the pale. I won’t even bother asking him for an apology, because I know I won’t get one from this governor.”
Never mind that the ad didn’t come from the Cuomo campaign directly, and never mind that leaving Astorino’s son in the ad would have probably generated exactly the same level of semi-feigned outrage. The Astorino team knows a gift from the campaign gods when they see one, and today they debuted an ad featuring Sean himself, now 10. The boy holds up several other family photos, asking, “Do you really like chopping up Astorino family photos? We wouldn’t do that to you.” He adds, “While I’ve got you here, stop telling lies about my dad on TV.”
Less than a week into the campaign and the children are already involved. Could this be some kind of new record?