ALBANY—Even after Jim Gennaro conceded defeat in his bid to unseat State Senator Frank Padavan, the two are still bickering.
Padavan put out a statement last night decrying Gennaro's "negative attacks" and saying he was vindicated by a re-count showing he won by 578 votes. This morning, the Gennaro camp put out a statement (in full below) saying the Padavan camp "worked tirelessly to prevent legitimate votes cast by students and people with disabilities from being counted."
I called Padavan to ask him for his thoughts at the end of a long, hard-fought and narrowly won campaign.
"We could go on and on in that kind of dialogue forever and not really end up anywhere," he said. "I'm not going to get caught up in that kind of nonsense again. He tried, in a variety of ways, particularly in literature and fliers, to distort. I told him to his face that he was lying."
Padavan's Republican colleagues have been anxiously awaiting his arrival in the State Senate, where he will provide their conference a 30th vote (as opposed to 32 Democrats). Padavan said his first priority would be "everybody's priority, and that's dealing with the budget."
In light of the bitter campaign – which Padavan said was worse than he had ever experienced – I asked if he would run again. He didn't hesitate to say yes, and thought the race showed strength, not vulnerability.
"He spent over twice as much money as I spent, the registration is three to one in his favor, and president Obama received 70 percent of the vote in this Senate district. So despite all of those advantages, he lost," Padavan said. "That shows, I think, a very strong position in terms of our work for the last 36 years."
Gennaro for New York campaign spokesman Mike Barfield made the following statement today: "From election night and at every step of the recount, Frank Padavan and his Republican cronies have worked tirelessly to prevent legitimate votes cast by students and people with disabilities from being counted. "Each time Padavan and the Republican lawyers tried to prevent votes from being counted they were rebuffed and in the end thousands of valid ballots Padavan objected to were counted. "His latest statement is as out of touch with the realities of the recount as his ultra-Republican voting record is with the people of Queens. This statement is the latest example of Frank Padavan's style: saying one thing in the district, but acting completely differently elsewhere. "Jim Gennaro ran an issue-based campaign and received more than 49% of the vote in this election. Jim has never been afraid to speak out about critical issues, whether it's protecting New York City's water supply or exposing Frank Padavan's 23 votes against women's health and safety. Now that the recount is settled, and the votes have been counted, Frank Padavan should stop the senseless political attacks and work with Sen. Smith and the new Democratic majority to address the critical issues facing New Yorkers."