BAY RIDGE/SHEEPSHEAD BAY – As Election Day nears, the crusade to win the 22nd Senate District seat is pushing both sides of the political aisle down a path of sketchy electioneering practices.
During a Department of Education meeting on specialized high schools State Senator Marty Golden’s communications director, John Quaglione tweeted that a staffer was distributing election material inside I.S. 201 Dyker Heights Immediate School.
Quaglione’s tweet asked if DOE or Mayor de Blasio, a Democrat, would explain why Gounardes campaign was allowed to hand out “political literature” during the Community Education Council District 20 meeting.
Can the @DOEChancellor or @NYCMayor explain why a political candidates’ staffer was permitted to hand out political literature at a Community Education Council District 20 meeting last night held in a public school? @NYCSchools @ChalkbeatNY @LindseyChrist @bkreporter @agounardes pic.twitter.com/1Tkt2buTw2
— John Quaglione (@JohnQuaglione) October 18, 2018
According to the city’s Regulation of the Chancellor rules, school facilities may not be used on behalf of any candidate or elected official for political campaigning.
Gounardes campaign responded to the accusations, and in turn, accused the Republican Party of electioneering at the venue.
“A staff member from my team arrived ahead of me and was distributing a flyer with my talking points for the evening, the flyer did not have the words “vote for Andrew” or “election day, November 6th,” said Gounardes’ spokesperson Dara Adams. “That said, when I arrived someone from DOE came over and asked that we stop, and we did so immediately.”
“There was express electioneering going on at the CEC meeting by Republicans in the audience,” retorted Adams who shared a photo of a flyer she received from an audience member who was given the flyer by Republican supporters at the meeting.
The senator’s office denied the allegations of improper electioneering in a statement sent from Spokesperson Michael Tobman.
“Senator Golden, as an elected official and not as a candidate, joined an organized protest against changes to the Specialized High School Admission Test,” Tobman.
“Any campaign activities in support of his reelection took place outside the building. Candidate Andrew Gounardes had his campaign staff distributed literature inside a public school, during a Community Education Council District 20 meeting, which is against Chancellor’s regulations,” he said.
“We have clear regulations in place that prohibit political activity in our schools,” said a DOE spokesperson. DOE employees immediately intervened and stopped the campaign literature from being distributed once it was brought to our attention.”