Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is getting backlash for comments she made about an opponent's family member. The Republican questioned Democratic candidate Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) because his father is a former criminal attorney who represented clients with ties to organized crime, remarks that many are calling an ethnic slur and inappropriate in general.
In an interview with USA Today earlier this month, Tenney said Louis Brindisi represented some of the worst criminals in Utica's community, and that should reflect on his son Anthony, who's seeking the Democratic ticket in the race for the 22nd Congressional District.
"Yeah, I think if -- his background is significant," Tenney said. "I think if it's going to be -- it's definitely -- I can't tell you how many people have come up to me in my community and said wow, I don't feel comfortable with the background he has."
Brindisi's campaign manager Ellen Foster criticized Tenney for involving someone who is not running, saying the freshman congresswoman resorted to the slight because she cannot defend her own record.
Tenney's remarks have sparked a backlash from some constituents. The Utica Observer Dispatch's editorial board said in a column it was a disgusting low-blow.
"What are you trying to say," asked Dave Dudajek, the paper's opinions page editor. "That’s the whole thing, the implication in the thing is -- was just unfit, not the right thing to do."
Tenney's office did not respond to WRVO's request for comment.