Smear Campaign Victim

(originally posted on

I am an elected official. I have been on the campaign trail. I have had mud slung at me, and I have fought back.

While I was campaigning for my office, Committee Member of the Ramapo (NY) Democratic Committee, my opposition made statements to the press that my running mates and I were “not real Democrats.” And we were “hijacking” the Democratic party. Okay, as far as campaign smearing goes, it’s pretty tame stuff–no one was accusing me of fathering an inter-racial bastard child, as the Bush campaign did of John McCain in 2000–still, it’s disturbing to have something said about you that is not true. I can only imagine how the presidential candidates must feel being on the receiving end of such nasty lies. It’s amazing they’re able to keep their cool at all.

My response to the statements was, consider the source. The person making the statements about us was the Town Supervisor, a man I consider to be corrupt, morally bankrupt and damaging to the vast majority of the people he’s supposed to represent. When I knocked on doors and talked to voters, my message was a simple one, I would do whatever I could to remove this man from power.

In their campaign literature, our opponents, led by the Town Supervisor, aligned themselves with Barack Obama. This really pissed me off, because, as far as I was concerned, they shared none of his values involving governance, values like inclusion, transparency and integrity. We (the Ramapo Democrats For Change candidates) were the reform ticket. If anybody should have been aligned with Obama, it was us.

I personally did not create any sort of campaign communications. The group I was part of, however, did create a couple of mailers outlining our opposition to the “political machine” currently occupying town hall.

As for the content of the mailers, I’m Hank Stewart, and I approved this message (even though no one asked me to). There is nothing in our campaign communications that is untrue or even misleading. There is no libelous or defaming content. We didn’t need any. The truth was the most powerful weapon we had.

We put out a message of change, reform and hope. It’s a message I am proud to be associated with. And it’s a message that resonated with the majority of our constituents, as most our candidates, including myself, were elected by approximately a 7 to 1 margin.

Keep hope alive.


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