The election mailers from supporters of Democrat Dave Calone, left,...

The election mailers from supporters of Democrat Dave Calone, left, and Republican Ed Romaine. Inset: The note in Calone's mailer referring to Romaine's "personnel file."

Daily Point

Calone's attack ad against Romaine raises questions

Long Islanders often get political mailers from candidates who seek to back up nasty charges against opponents by pointing to news clippings or public documents. But in this year’s race for Suffolk County executive, a placard sent by the Democrats against GOP candidate Ed Romaine relies on what seems an unusual source.

A widely distributed mailer cites “Romaine Personnel File” twice for accusations that include raising his own pay repeatedly while ignoring corruption. The flip side of that same postcard promotes his opponent Dave Calone, and is paid for by the New York State Democratic Committee.

“He doesn’t have my personnel file — are you kidding me?” said Romaine, when asked about the Calone campaign flyer. “Ask him to produce it [the personnel file]. He’s lying through his teeth, just like all the other charges.”

Calone’s camp didn’t make the “Romaine personnel file” available to The Point, but says there’s nothing wrong with using public data on salary and benefits in a campaign attack ad.

“That’s part of the facts,” said Shane Wolfe, campaign manager for Calone. “Our campaign sticks to the facts.”

The attack ad against Romaine, the Brookhaven Town supervisor, is part of a larger campaign by Calone’s supporters that includes television and Internet video ads suggesting he is corrupt. During the past week, the Romaine side has launched its own flyer attacking Calone as a “Hochul Liberal” who voted for multiple utility rate hikes as a member of the Long Island Power Authority board. That mailer, paid for by the New York Republican State Committee, cites newspaper clips.

Relying on public data to obtain basic information about salaries is legal, but citing it as from a file most assume is confidential may seem dubious strategy to some. Romaine’s supporters cried foul, and wondered whether other employment information was improperly obtained from his actual personnel file. “It raises the question of legality and just how they got that [personnel file],” said Romaine’s campaign manager Brendan Sweeney. But Wolfe denied that information about Romaine was obtained improperly. “It’s all public information,” he said.

— Thomas Maier

Pencil Point

Equal opportunity indicter

Credit: CQ Roll Call/R.J. Matson

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Quick Points

Sense and insensibility

  • President Joe Biden has gotten the updated COVID-19 vaccine, the annual flu shot and the RSV vaccine, which will certainly serve as an example for all Americans — though a different one for those at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
  • Former President Donald Trump is leading the Republican field in New Hampshire with 39% of the vote in polling — which would be a losing position if there weren’t four candidates splitting most of the rest of the vote with each thinking the others should drop out.
  • An ABC official said that a new ABC-Washington Post poll of U.S. adults showing former President Donald Trump ahead of President Joe Biden, 52% to 42%, might be a case of voters expressing their disappointment with Biden and not an indicator of how they were going to vote. OK, but then why do the poll?
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says House Republicans “need to come to their senses” and pass legislation to avoid a federal government shutdown. That presumes some of them have senses they can come to.
  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott says he doesn’t need a breakout moment in Wednesday’s GOP primary debate despite languishing in the single digits in polling. He’s right. At this point, he needs about 100 breakout moments.
  • Flamingos have been seen on a Lake Michigan beach 25 miles north of Milwaukee. There goes a possible axiom, because until now when pigs fly was about as likely as when flamingos land in Wisconsin.

— Michael Dobie

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