Charges of Spying Land Into Contentious Albany Senate Race [Updated X2]

Shawn Morse (Photo: Facebook)

The race between State Senator Neil Breslin and his Democratic primary challenger Shawn Morse is not short of disputes. The two have traded shots over pension reform, minimum wage, connections to disgraced former State Senator Pedro Espada, campaign contributions and more.

The latest? Campaign expenditures Mr. Breslin spent for a private investigator, which Mr. Morse believes is an attempt to stalk him and his family. And a press release he sent out this afternoon condemned Mr. Breslin in far sharper rhetoric than the usual political attack.

“He can’t defend his failed record, so Breslin is trying to dig up dirt—any dirt—he can use against me,” Mr. Morse said in the statement. “This is paranoid, Nixon-style politics at its worst. The voters deserve an honest campaign, but Breslin is stooping to a despicably low level, even by the State Legislature’s low standards, so he can avoid telling the truth on key issues.”

But the charges didn’t stop there.

“Before Breslin’s goons jump out of the bushes to snap my picture, trail me any further in a dark car with even darker tinted windows, or snoop around our campaign office, let me reiterate that I want this race to be about the major issues affecting Capital Region residents,” he continued. “Voters deserve a real race about the priorities of working people and middle class families in the district. That’s what my campaign is all about, but Breslin is taking a different route: he is going out of his way to avoid discussing issues and instead is engaging in the worst kind of bottom-feeding politics.”

While Mr. Breslin has indeed spent a little over $1,000 for John R. Probst Investigations Inc.’s services, it’s not necessarily clear that the expenditure was for, “paranoid, Nixon-style politics at its worst,” as Mr. Morse described it, or something more innocent like generic campaign research.

Update: Mr. Breslin’s campaign manager Dan Hornick sent in the following response:

“It’s ironic that a candidate running a dirty campaign with zero substance is attacking a progressive Senator with a history of accomplishments. Senator Breslin has spent his career helping others and will continue to fight for progressive values such as raising the minimum wage, protecting women’s health, ensuring all New Yorkers have access to quality health care and education. Shawn Morse has done nothing this campaign other than accept money from Republican-leaning interests and make wild, baseless accusations. The voters of the 44th Senate District see through these desperate, self-serving tactics.”

Update 2X:  From Mr. Morse’s campaign spokesman Dan Morris:

“There are four simple questions Neil Breslin needs to answer:  Why is he sending  private investigators after his political opponents, why did he support Pedro Espada for Majority Leader, why won’t he take a position on Tier VI, and what conflicts of interest does he have at his law firm.  If he can’t or won’t answer these simple questions, how can he ask the voters to trust him with a ninth term?”

 

View the full press release below:

Nixon-Style Dirty Tricks Campaign;
Hires Private Investigator to Spy on Shawn Morse and His Family

Breslin Hides Info About His Legal Clients but Uses Paid Goons to Dig Into Opponent’s Personal Life

Albany, NY—Today Democrat Shawn Morse slammed Neil Breslin for hiring a private investigative firm, John R. Probst Investigation, to spy on him and his family, an expenditure that was reported in Breslin’s most recent State Senate campaign filing.

“He can’t defend his failed record, so Breslin is trying to dig up dirt—any dirt—he can use against me. This is paranoid, Nixon-style politics at its worst. The voters deserve an honest campaign, but Breslin is stooping to a despicably low level, even by the State Legislature’s low standards, so he can avoid telling the truth on key issues,” Morse said.

“Before Breslin’s goons jump out of the bushes to snap my picture, trail me any further in a dark car with even darker tinted windows, or snoop around our campaign office, let me reiterate that I want this race to be about the major issues affecting Capital Region residents. Voters deserve a real race about the priorities of working people and middle class families in the district. That’s what my campaign is all about, but Breslin is taking a different route: he is going out of his way to avoid discussing issues and instead is engaging in the worst kind of bottom-feeding politics,” Morse said.

“Breslin’s last-ditch strategy is to focus on my past and my personal life, and avoid the issues that make him so uncomfortable. He won’t discuss why he accepts more money from the Republican-backed insurance industry than all other Democrats in the State Senate; he won’t offer a simple yes or no to Tier VI; he won’t explain why he voted to make Pedro Espada Majority Leader, and he refuses to address whether there are any serious conflicts of interest between his government office and his law firm’s business clients,” Morse said.

“Instead he’s planning to launch a smear campaign based on already public information his private investigators have brought to his attention: the fact that, more than fifteen years ago, I got into a few bar fights while sticking up for women who were getting harassed, and was arrested once for driving under the influence. I’ve talked about these issues before, and always acknowledged them, and the voters who know me know these are non-issues that have no bearing on this race,” he said.

“What the voters care about are the issues Breslin continues to dodge. He is aggressively hiding facts from the voters, which probably explains his paranoia and desperation,” Morse said.

Charges of Spying Land Into Contentious Albany Senate Race [Updated X2]