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Thursday, December 18, 2014
Political arena

Mailers show depth of vitriol in race

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted

Throughout the Democratic primary race between state Sen. Co-majority Leader Jeff Klein and former Councilman Oliver Koppell, the dynamic has mostly followed the script of indignant challenger firing off polemics and comfortable incumbent seeking to stay above the fray.

It took weeks for Mr. Klein to issue a mailer on par with Mr. Koppell’s August campaign material saying, “Do we really want a coldblooded political reptile representing us in Albany?” The mailer included a picture of an iguana and an excerpt from a 2012 New York Post story slamming Mr. Klein’s power-sharing coalition with senate Republicans.

Several days ago, the senator sent out a testy mailer of his own.

“Oliver Koppell wants your vote. He just doesn’t respect your opinion,” it reads before quoting a recent New York Daily News article that found Mr. Koppell apparently deriding constituents while campaigning in Morris Park. 

The mailers are unusual for Riverdale, which prides itself as a bastion of civility in New York’s contentious political scene. But Alan Handell, who has printed mailers for prominent Democratic candidates for the past 40 years, said Mr. Klein’s and Mr. Koppell’s latest literature is extreme even by the rest of the city’s standards. Mr. Handell has been printing Mr. Koppell’s mailings, but says he has no control over the content.

“This is very tough, hard-hitting stuff,” said Mr. Handell, who previously printed mailers for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama along with numerous city politicians. “I don’t remember seeing anything as tough hitting. Obviously it got Klein to respond, because he’s fighting back, too.

Koppell calls for probe

Mr. Koppell has asked New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for an immediate investigation into allegations that Mr. Klein has turned a local non-profit, the Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation (KRVC) into a campaign vehicle.

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