NY-22 Minute: Brindisi Going Negative on Twitter By Luke Perry
In declaring his candidacy, Anthony Brindisi expressed hope the NY-22 campaign would be about issues, not caustic personal attacks. This hope has come into question with Brindisi’s recent social media attacks on Claudia Tenney.
Last month 17 out of 42 Tweets (40 percent) from “Anthony Brindisi for Congress” (@ABrindisiNY) were personal attacks on Tenney. There have been 9 more attacks this month.
Attacks were often related to controversial statements made by Representative Tenney, such as her defense of Ben Carson. Several questioned Tenney’s motives, often in relation to her donors.
Some were juxtaposed with sensitive topics. A series of Tweets between April 11 and 13 exhibited personal attacks between sympathies for local Officer Kevin Crossley, who recently died in a car accident, and calls to "all stand united against hate" on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Going negative” is standard in Congressional campaigns. It often works. All candidates make strategic calculations about when, how, and how often to attack- even ones who express interest in running a positive campaign focused on issues.
Brindisi is still shaping his style for a bigger stage. This is his first competitive election in seven years, and a nationally significant one, which Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Cystall Ball label a “toss-up.”
Anthony Brindisi believes that conduct, as well as issues, separate him from Tenney. The more negative Brindisi goes, the more difficult it will be to contrast himself with his opponent.
The high road is straight. The challenge all candidates face is keeping steady through the long, grueling trip of a competitive campaign.
Note: Personal attacks were defined as those that included name calling and/or derogatory comments or hashtags negative in tone and explicitly referencing Claudia Tenney.
Updated at 5:40pm, April 24.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.
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