Even though New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has consistently led the race against challenger Cynthia Nixon by a double-digit margin, his campaign reportedly tried to plant a story accusing Nixon of anti-Semitism ahead of a weekend mailing by the New York Democratic Party that leveled similar charges.
That charge was first made in a mailer sent to voters on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, which misconstrued Nixon’s views on Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It also accused Nixon of being “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism.” Amid the ensuing controversy, a Cuomo strategist said the governor didn’t approve or even know about the mailing and called its message “inappropriate.”
But a story out Wednesday in the New York Post complicates that story by publishing parts of what the paper describes as a “smoking gun” email, sent Friday afternoon, to a Post reporter from a Cuomo campaign aide pitching a similar attack on Nixon. Per the paper:
The smoking-gun email, sent Friday afternoon from an official “andrewcuomo.com” account, suggested that The Post publish a story about Nixon’s support of the pro-Palestinian “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement against Israel.
“Nixon has supported insidious BDS campaign, signing onto letter boycotting Israel,” it says.
“Obviously something you guys have reported on a lot and right before the jewish high holidays!
“Can get you folks on the record slamming her as well,” the aide added.
I’m sure the aide—who remains unnamed in the Post’s account—could’ve delivered on that promise! Like any good political staffer, the paper reported that the aide followed up the same day with a “series” of texts urging them to publish the hit.
“Hey I got something for you on nixon [sic]….I’m going to email to you. But not from me,” one text reportedly said.
On Sunday, at a campaign event in the city, Cuomo echoed his sentiment that the mailing was “inappropriate,” but swore up and down that he hadn’t seen it and had not directed the attack.
“I didn’t know about the mailer. I heard about the mailer. I haven’t seen the mailer,” Cuomo told reporters. But Nixon, for her part, called that explanation “patently absurd.”
“He’s the head of the Democratic Party,” she told the Post. “He controls the state committee.”
The race has taken a decidedly ugly turn in the final days of the race before Election Day on Thursday. As Splinter reported on Tuesday, a chief consulting firm working on Nixon’s campaign took money from a real estate mogul to lob attacks at progressive attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout, who was endorsed by Nixon. It was also reported that the Cuomo administration offered incentives to push the major photo op of a bridge opening up to before the primary.
It’s worth remembering exactly which campaign took those low roads when you turn out to the polls.