Russianoff’s Verdict on Disputed Squadron Mailer: Correct

squadron transportation Russianoffs Verdict on Disputed Squadron Mailer: CorrectPictured above is part of a mailing that Democratic State Senate candidate Dan Squadron is distributing to highlight his role in bringing transportation money back to New York.

Squadron, who is trying to unseat incumbent State Senator Marty Connor, has never held public office, but he used to be an aide to Chuck Schumer, and after that went to Knickerbocker SKD, a public relations firm that worked on work on the campaign for a bill called the Transportation Bond Act, which is what Squadron’s mailer refers to.

The mailing says in large letters, “Where others had failed, Daniel Squadron helped win $2.9 billion for transportation.” It continues, “As Communications Director for the campaign, Squadron made the case – upstate and downstate, to Republicans and Democrats – for a major reinvestment in mass transit.”

Bringing back resources and showing results is one of the key issues Squadron has campaigned on.

But Connor spokesman Chad Marlow, who brought the mailer to my attention, thinks Squadron is overstating his role and misleading voters. Marlow said the mailing “made [him] physically ill” (this sort of talk is becoming a bit of a theme in this race) and added, “Dan was a mid-level staffer on the Transportation Bond Act campaign to which he is referring. That is like the guy who cleaned Michelangelo’s brushes telling people he helped paint the Sistine Chapel.”

Marlow challenged Squadron “to publicly explain, in detail, what his role was on that campaign.“ He also asked Squadron “to identify one respected, independent leader in the fight for better public transportation in New York City who would identify him as a major player in securing those funds.”

Squadron declined to immediately respond to Marlow’s comments, but his campaign spokesman, Josh Kriegman, called it “another baseless, shameless personal attack.” Kriegman went to say it shows Connor has “a record he clearly does not want to talk about.”

Gene Russianoff, a senior attorney with the Straphangers Campaign, who worked in support of the Transportation Bond Act, told me Squadron “played a meaningful role.”

“He did a lot of the real work in promoting the bond act to the media,” Russianoff added, but he also cautioned against assigning too much credit to any one player. “It’s like asking, why did Bush get re-elected? There were a lot of factors.”

Asked about Squadron’s claim in the mailing, Russianoff said, “I don’t have any problem with that statement. I think that is correct.”