Leading in Recount, Padavan Makes His Attacks

State Senator Frank Padavan was first elected to office 35 years ago, and his Republican conference has been in the majority for nearly the entire time. But if his 723-vote lead over Democratic challenger Jim Gennaro holds steady through next week's official count, Padavan will, for the first time in a long time, be a member of minority conference.

It's not something he wants to discuss.

"I'm not going to talk about a hypothetical," Padavan said in a brief telephone interview this afternoon. He went on to say he felt there was a good chance Republicans will peel away enough votes–presumably from the four Democratic members of the "Independent Caucus"–to maintain their majority status. But, Padavan added, "I'm not directly involved in those deliberations."

Padavan said Gennaro ran a "despicable campaign" and that his consultants were that "sleazy outfit, the Parkside Group" which, according to Padavan, "are famous for that type of campaign."

Padavan's said his opponent distorted and misrepresented his voting record. He said he supported increasing access to health care and tougher gun control measures, but that Gennaro's campaign said the complete opposite.

The response from Evan Stavisky, a Parkside consultant who worked on the campaign, was on message.

"It's not despicable to inform voters that Frank Padavan voted against women's health and safety 23 times, it's despicable to actually vote against women's health and safety 23 times," Stavisky said in an e-mail.

Padavan said he decided to focus his campaign's message on "our record." He also said that in hindsight he would not have changed his message.

"There are lots of things I could have done, but I chose not to," he said. "We ran a very, very clean campaign. Everything we put out was positive."

But he told me the attacks they could have made.

There was the issue of Gennaro "having been found guilty by the New York City Board of Elections, and he paid a fine,"said Padavan. "There was his involvement in that scandal in the City Council [with] those phony organizations, and the fact that he received the bulk of his funding from developers, which have been the enemies of my constituency and want to change the character of the neighborhood."

Padavan said he didn't raise these issues because they were not germane to the job of being a legislator.

"I've heard of desperate last minute political attacks," said Stavisky, responding to what Padavan told me, "But desperate post-election political attacks are kind of bizarre."