The campaign of Paul Newell, Sheldon Silver’s primary opponent, issued a statement today that simultaneously defended Elizabeth Crothers’ recent controversial mailing on his behalf and distanced the candidate from it.
Newell lashed out at Silver spokesman Jonathan Rosen’s claim that the Crothers mailing — funding for which was revealed to have come from a prominent Republican — was “gutter politics.” The mailing recounted Crothers’ previous claims of being raped by the Speaker’s then-Chief Counsel, and of Silver’s insensitivity to her plight.
“Perhaps the gutter politics isn’t the mailing, but in fact is the Speaker’s long-standing disregard for the residents he represents,” said Newell’s campaign manager, Evan Hutchison. Newell himself praised Crothers as a “strong woman” who put herself on the line to “[end] the culture of secrecy and power in Albany.”
Nonetheless the release also said that “The Newell for Assembly campaign denies any involvement with Ms. Crothers’ mailing whatsoever. It is an independent expenditure paid for by a group with which the Newell campaign has had no contact.”
Early this morning Crothers told Runnin’ Scared that she had mentioned her plans for the mailer to Newell, but not its funding source.
In a separate statement, Crothers also denounced Rosen’s statement, saying Silver “cannot apologize on one day, and then attack my story through his spokesperson the next.” (Silver reversed his position on his Counsel when he got caught raping someone else.) “Silver must choose which story he is going to stick to: his previous statements of remorse and regret, or his campaign staff’s statements.”
Also separately, the Newell campaign informed us that the candidate’s position of national health care — which we had wondered about, given the anti-health-care credentials of the Crothers mailer’s sponsor — is that he “passionately supports universal healthcare with a strong preference for a single payer model.”