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Anthone Thompson's Attack on Mark Grisanti

I have a nomination for the Underhanded Campaign Tactics Hall of Fame.

I returned from a short vacation Saturday and found a brochure in my mailbox with a joint return address of the New York State Democratic Committee and New York Democratic Senate Committee.

The front of the brochure screamed “VOTE NO ON MARK GRISANTI” and had a photo in which Grisanti bears a striking likeness to Lee Harvey Oswald. When you open the brochure you see the following sentence: “If you’re a killer, drug dealer, burglar or scam artist, Mark Grisanti would like to represent you.” The remainder of the brochure is devoted to explaining that Mr. Grisanti is a criminal defense attorney and, ergo, is unqualified for public office. There is no mention of his position on any issue, or of any public statement that he has made. Indeed, Mr. Girisanti’s opponent is not even mentioned on the brochure.

I’ve received a lot of trashy campaign literature in my day, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anything that denigrates a candidate based on his profession; certainly none where the profession is a respectable one.

The right to counsel is the most fundamental of constitutional rights. Without counsel most other procedural rights in a criminal prosecution would be illusory. To suggest that Mr. Grisanti is disreputable because he practices criminal law is reprehensible.

I am a died-in-the-wool Democrat. I am 63 years old, and I have never voted for a Republican. Until now. I plan to vote for Mr. Grisanti because of this shameful brochure.

Joe Gerken, Buffalo

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