Mark Green is swearing off opposition research, even though–or perhaps because–he, more than any of his opponents, stands to be on the receiving end of some of it. (For now, Green’s superior name recognition, and the poll numbers, make it more or less inevitable that he will be the target of everyone else’s attacks. If, say, Bill de Blasio were to close the gap, Green–no stranger to negative campaigning–might be tempted to rethink his principled stand.)
In an interview with Julie Menin, a community leader in Lower Manhattan, Green indicated he’d respond to criticism, but said, “I’m not doing what’s called opposition research.” His comments are around the 31.50 period. “It has been, and I intend it to be, a completely positive campaign,” Green said.
Immediately afterward, he was asked about the fliers his campaign distributed during the 2001 mayoral run-off against Fernando Ferrer depicting Ferrer kissing Al Sharpton’s butt (which was basically a reprint of a New York Post cartoon). The flier was distributed in some white neighborhoods in Brooklyn and led, in part, to a wholesale boycott of Green’s general-election effort by many Ferrer supporters, who sat on their hands as Michael Bloomberg roared past Green on Election Day.
“I was a Democratic mayoral nominee. A thousand people were working for me. And somebody, some idiot or idiots, handed out a flier in Brooklyn I did not know about and denounced as soon as I saw it. It was very painful,” Green said. “In the seven years since, no one has ever contradicted me, nor can they. And in fact, Freddy Ferrer and Robert Ramirez—he was the opponent in the run-off—have subsequently told New York magazine no one can really blame Mark Green because he didn’t know about it and he repudiated it as soon as he knew.”