The dirtiest political campaign of 2010 did not occur in Delaware (home of Christine O' Donnell). While the gloves came off in California in the Boxer-Fiorina race and for the governorship of the state in which Brown bulldozed Whitman, neither of the races degraded into total nuclear mudslinging. One could make a convincing argument that dirty campaigning nearly scraped the bottom of the barrel in the Senate races in Nevada and West Virginia, but still not dirty enough.
At the end of the day the worst campaigning of 2010 was for a seat in the New York state Assembly's 94th district. That's an area of a hundred thousand people in the small County of Rockland, about 30 miles north of New York city. Yes, an obscure state assembly seat.
Kenneth Zebrowski, Jr., a democrat incumbent had waged what had been a respectable campaign against Republican challenger Frank Sparaco. It looked like Zebrowski would be a shoe-in having the incumbent's advantage and would continue on being a small voice among many fish in Albany.
But apparently someone got uncomfortable in Zebrowski's party and lobbed a political bomb into the lap of the local paper in late October, accusing Sparaco of taking money from members of the mob. Sparaco was quick to deny the accusations. Here's a Journal News video:
In spite of the denial the accusations would continue to haunt Sparaco. Worse, Zebrowski stood idly by and did nothing to discredit the charges. To make matters worse, the Zebrowski campaign sent a flyer to potential voters just a few days before the election that featured illustrated bullet holes and an accusation the Sparaco's biological father, who left the family when Sparaco was 9-months old, was a mafia hit man!
I've never seen anything like this in our local community and am hard pressed to recall dirtier politics on a nationwide basis. Unfortunately, character assassination is a mainstay of the American political scene; it started long before our lifetimes. The most egregious early example I can recall dates back to the Presidential campaign of 1828 when Rachel Jackson died of a heart attack shortly after bigamy accusations flew over a botched divorce years before. Mrs. Jackson just could not deal with the stress. Those accusations 182 years ago dealt with issues involving candidate Andrew Jackson and his wife and no one else. .
Fast forwarding to 2010, my local community, in this mere Assembly race, has been subjected to a new low in character assassination: The sins of the father. Since when did it become necessary for the parents of a political candidate to be squeaky clean, especially in the case of Sparaco where the father was estranged from the family since he was a baby? It's just ridiculous.
Earlier today, Zebrowski was interviewed on the local radio station about this dirty race. Amazingly, he denied being involved in any of the dirty tricks. He essentially blamed his party. Could this really be true? Could his party actually send out fliers and disseminate information of the sort I have described without his blessing, or the blessing of someone within his campaign? If so, he should leave his party and disavow any association with the democrats. If it is found that he had any involment in conjuring up the scandalous accusations, he should resign.
This race again convinces me that politicians are generally the lowest common denominator in society, Sparaco lost, but in the end is the best man for not stooping to the level of Zebrowski's "friends".