4th C.D.: Blakeman demands Rice fire staffer over 'insensitive' Twitter joke about domestic violence

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Congressional candidates for New York's 4th District Kathleen Congressional candidates for New York's 4th District Kathleen Rice, left, and Bruce A. Blakeman, right, pose for portraits. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp / James Escher

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Republican congressional candidate Bruce Blakeman is calling for his opponent to fire a campaign staffer who had posted a joke to Twitter about domestic violence.

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Blakeman, who is running to succeed Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in Nassau County’s 4th District, issued a statement late Friday that condemned the tweet by Zach Tierney, an aide to Democrat Kathleen Rice’s campaign.
Tierney, a Manhattan resident who tweets under the handle “brotis redding,” wrote on April 6: “#ImInTheFriendZoneBecause I have progressed past public physical abuse of women, but not quite past viewing them as property.” The tweet — which Rice’s campaign called a “stupid, insensitive” attempt at sarcasm — was visible as of Friday afternoon, but had been deleted shortly after Blakeman issued his statement at 6 p.m.

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By 9 p.m., Tierney had set his Twitter account to private.

“Anyone who admits to — or even jokes about — engaging in physical abuse of women or views them as property has absolutely no place in a political campaign,” Blakeman said. “Kathleen Rice should immediately fire her staff member in question.”

Tierney did not respond to an email requesting comment. Rice has worked to protect victims of domestic violence in her position as Nassau district attorney, and has made women’s rights a centerpiece of her campaign.

“These were stupid, insensitive attempts at sarcasm and parody by a young staff member mocking the anti-women attitudes that have come to define Bruce Blakeman's tea party,” said Rice spokesman Eric Phillips. “The campaign was unaware of these tweets, they have been removed from the staff member's personal account, and he has been disciplined.”

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Phillips did not disclose the nature of the discipline.
Filings with the Federal Election Commission show that Rice’s campaign paid Tierney roughly $10,000 between March and June. He was listed as the contact for a recent posting by the campaign seeking field staff to “manage and grow Kathleen Rice’s grassroots operation in Nassau County.”
Another post cited by Blakeman’s campaign came on July 11, when Tierney wrote — after a concert by a popular Latin music artist — about seeing “more Dominican girls walking over the 145th st bridge right now than there are girls in the Dominican Republic.” That tweet had also been deleted late Friday.

“Ms. Rice also owes us an explanation as to why she pays this individual $2,500 a month when he displays, or even at best inappropriately jokes, about his hatred of women and people of different backgrounds,” said Blakeman, a businessman and former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature.

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