Both sides on the fight for the Republican nomination in the 43rd Senate District are crying foul.
The war of words between the campaigns for Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, and Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione has escalated with complaints surrounding each other’s advertising materials.
The first complaint was voiced by the McDonald campaign over two print advertisements sent out by the Marchione campaign, which only used a post box number to identify where the mailed pieces originated from. This issue was brought before the Fair Campaign Practices for the Capital Region, a nonpartisan group, which heard a total of four separate complaints and ruled on Thursday that the Marchione campaign had engaged in two instances of unfair campaign practices.
The first instance of unfair campaign practices was in connection with a failure to clearly identify the Marchione campaign as the originator of the material. A second complaint of this nature didn’t warrant the same finding, with the group determining that supporting material was inconclusive.
The second instance of unfair campaign practices that the Fair Campaign Practices group recognized was the use of the phrase “get lost” in a piece of literature. The group accused the Marchione campaign of unfairly creating the illusion in the advertisement that McDonald used the phrase.
At the time of the complaints in early August, Marchione spokesman Ken Girardin characterized the issue as a typical complaint from McDonald and maintained that the advertisements met with standards laid out by the Fair Campaign Practices group.
McDonald spokesman Michael Veitch crowed about the decision in a statement, saying, “This ruling shows that Sen. McDonald’s opponent utilized misleading campaign tactics in an attempt to mislead voters.”
The Marchione campaign, though, is not without its own grievances, as they have cried foul over a television advertisement from the McDonald campaign. The ad accuses Marchione of “swindling” county taxpayers because of a 65 percent raise she received and because she doesn’t pay for any of her health care, which makes President Barack Obama appear conservative in comparison to her.
In a statement, Marchione countered that she doesn’t set her own salary or benefits. “Roy McDonald should know that the Board of Supervisors is responsible for that because he voted for the very raises he’s attacking me for taking. It’s absolutely bizarre that he would attack me for something that he voted on,” she said.
Marchione added that her pay and benefits are almost identical to what other clerks in the Capital Region receive and also said she declined county health insurance for 21 of the 22 years she has been eligible to have it.
In a candidate forum on Thursday night, Marchione spokesman Girardin said McDonald acknowledged he voted for pay raises for the clerk position while he served on the Board of Supervisors. As a result of this acknowledgement, he called the McDonald television advertisement bizarre.
McDonald spokesman Veitch highlighted the fact that McDonald did not vote for the recent raises that brought Marchione’s salary close to $100,000 and that earlier raises were approved during a more robust economic climate.
McDonald and Marchione will square off in a debate at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Bush Memorial Hall at The Sage Colleges in Troy.