In a Monday, Oct. 12, letter to the Rotterdam Democratic Committee, Republican Committee Chairman Gerard Parisi said that Democratic town supervisor candidate and local businessman Frank Del Gallo is unqualified for a number of reasons, including is his alleged inability to read or write.
According to Parisi, anonymous sources close to Del Gallo have stated that he may be unqualified as town supervisor.
I'm not trying to insult the guy, but if he can't read or write, he may not be fit for town supervisor, said Parisi.
In a Tuesday, Oct. 13, conversation, Democratic Chairman Bill Cooke questioned the motivation behind those accusations.
"That's ridiculous," said Cooke. "I think that they know that they're in trouble. With that kind of distortion and kind of unprofessionalism " it's a degrading letter; it's a simple as that. Really they're just degrading themselves by writing a letter like that."
In late September, Republican Town Supervisor Steven Tommasone, who is seeking reelection, challenged Del Gallo to three debates " a challenge that, according to Parisi, went unanswered.
"We want an honest and open debate for people to hear instead of getting inundated with false facts and lies in campaign materials," said Parisi at the time.
Cooke said that, in light of recent comments made about Del Gallo's literacy, the Democrats are not likely to respond to Parisi's call for debates.
"Whether you think he's a good supervisor candidate or not, you don't trash an individual like that," said Cooke. "I wouldn't put my candidates in a debate with them after seeing this letter. In my opinion, I do not believe we are going to debate now."
Parisi said the Rotterdam GOP believes Del Gallo has spread rumors in campaign publications, and the party would have liked to see a debate to clear the air. Initially, Cooke responded to Parisi's debate challenge with a letter asking why, out of five contested elections, only the town supervisor candidates were asked to debate. He also asked why the GOP did not consider the public forum scheduled by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 20 an appropriate venue.