Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz kept mum about his opponent throughout most of his primary campaign, despite repeated hits that mischaracterized his record and brought unwarranted scrutiny to his personal life.
His opponent, Ben Akselrod, hit him for keeping quiet about a mosque that isn’t in his district, voting for a bill that encouraged tolerance even for – gasp – the gays, and, just days before election day, marrying a woman who is not Jewish.
Cymbrowitz’s silence caused at least one media outlet to say he was running a “gentleman’s campaign,” refusing to go negative against his opponent despite the baiting.
On Tuesday, September 25, Cymbrowitz broke his silence – nearly two weeks after his narrow victory against Akselrod – calling his opponent’s tactics “outrageous and vicious.”
Cymbrowitz spoke out in an e-mail blast to supporters, thanking them for their vote. Though he never mentioned Akselrod by name, the target of his muted ire is clear. He wrote:
My victory in the 45th A.D. primary was gratifying on a personal level. It shows that we’re working together, in the spirit of cooperation, for the benefit of our community and for the many goals we share as New Yorkers and as human beings.
All of us want vibrant and safe neighborhoods, good schools, thriving senior centers, and inviting parks and playgrounds. We want bustling shopping strips, reliable buses and subways, and access to high-quality and affordable health care.
We may speak a variety of languages and visit different houses of worship, but we like to think of ourselves as a community that embraces its vast array of cultures and conducts itself according to the principles of kindness, decency and mutual respect.
That last point is an important one to remember. I mention it because it ties in with events leading up to the primary.
There were some disgraceful tactics that emerged from my opponent’s camp, outrageous and vicious personal attacks that sought to hurt not just me but my family. You may think that elected officials are used to this sort of thing, but my opponent’s tactics far exceeded the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
I was outraged, and so were the decent people of this community. The election results proved it. Good politics won over bad. Civil discourse triumphed over dirty innuendo. This is as it should be.
We’re a united community working together for our future. We have much to look forward to. Our vision, our continued dialogue and our commitment to partnership will make it all possible.