The state Conservative Party issued cease and desist letters to several Rotterdam candidates running for election after the party’s logo appeared on a mailer circulated on behalf of the candidates.
Neither the state or local Conservative Parties had endorsed the candidates in the mailer.
However, the logo on the mailer appears to be missing the words “of New York State” below the words “Conservative Party.” The rest of the logo appears to be the same.
In an email, the state Conservative Party said the misappropriation of the logo was a “clear attempt to hoodwink Conservative voters into believing that the candidates have been endorsed by the New York State Conservative Party, which they have not been.”
The email continues to state that the Conservative and Republican Parties logos were being used under the “false auspices of a ‘Conservative and Republican Coalition.’”
State Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar said the use of the logo makes it look as if the state party does not support the position of the local Conservative Party.
“The state party always supports the candidates of the local Conservative Party organization,” Kassar said. “Any attempt to make it appear that we are supporting someone else, particularly by using what is clearly our insignia, I would have to actively oppose and that’s exactly what I’m doing here.”
Kassar said the state Conservative Party will take people to court if they fail to stop using the logo.
Rotterdam Republican Chairman John Mertz said there was no mistake made in using the symbol because two of the candidates running are Conservatives.
“I think the message that is being sent out is that these are Conservative Party members, that the symbol represents their current party enrollment and therefore, is a fair representation of which party and ideology they support,” he said.
But Schenectady County Conservative Party Chairman Jim Barrett said only one Republican on the party’s slate sought out the Conservative Party’s endorsement – Kenneth Litz, who is seeking re-election for town justice.
While Schenectady County Republican Chairman Chris Koetzle said he would not normally be involved in how a town or city party runs its campaign, the recent behavior has raised ethical concerns.
“I agree this is deceptive, it’s misleading,” he said, noting he had only just heard about the mailer late Tuesday afternoon. “There’s no place for that in local politics.”
The Daily Gazette received permission from the State Conservative Party to use its logo for publication.