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James O’Connor, the Republican challenger for Suffolk executive, has launched his first campaign mailing, attacking what he calls “out-of-control salaries” that incumbent Democrat Steve Bellone gave police unions in their contracts.
“Police unions got theirs . . . and you got yours . . . a higher tax bill,” O’Connor’s mailing states, with a picture of a shocked woman voter and a newspaper clipping about the salary hikes. “Stop the insanity / Stop Steve Bellone,” the mailing adds. “Say no to the $227,000-a-year cop.”
The mailing includes a schematic complete with arrows that accuses police unions of bankrolling Bellone’s winning 2011 campaign, with "the county executive giving them pay hikes that have increased police property taxes 11 percent, which in turn have resulted in 150 fewer police and a 30 percent increase in gun violence."
Hank Russell, O’Connor’s campaign manager, said the mailing was sent to Republicans, Conservatives and some unaligned voters, but he declined to detail the number of voters who got the mailing. However, Russell said the campaign is planning five more mailings before Election Day.
Keith Davies, Bellone’s campaign manager, dismissed the attacks.
"Steve Bellone isn't worried about the claims his opponent is making. He's focused on protecting tax dollars, investing in our clean water infrastructure and continuing to move Suffolk forward," Davies said. He added that Bellone is also planning his own mail campaign, but declined to provide any details. The county executive is already running a cable TV ad.