A battle for a district that includes parts of northern Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess.
New York State Sen. Terrence Murphy engaged in “unfair” campaign practices in his race against Democrat Pete Harckham, a nonpartisan committee found.
The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee issued four findings in a report released Sunday, saying Murphy made unsubstantiated and misleading claims including a “knowing mischaracterization” of one of the committee’s previous rulings.
Murphy, a Yorktown Republican, is seeking his third two-year term in the Senate’s 40th District, which includes parts of northern Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties. Harckham, of Lewisboro, is a former county legislator and worked in the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
- Murphy’s campaign was found to be unfair for stating that Harckham was hired by the state due to connections with Joe Percoco, a top state official recently convicted of bribery. The campaign said the claim lacked a “factual basis” and was in violation of the committee’s principles.
- The committee found accusations unsubstantiated and misleading that Harckham was “double dipping” holding two “low show” jobs in the state simultaneously.
- The committee found Murphy’s campaign, through the state Republican Campaign Committee, misrepresented a previous finding by saying Harckham “lied.” Harckham had said Murphy was “The man who nominated him (Donald Trump) at the Republican National Convention.” In a previous ruling, the committee found that statement unfair because it wasn’t accurate – but it didn’t say Harckham lied.
- Murphy’s campaign was found unfair in alleging that Harckham voted to give millions of taxpayer dollars to a developer called Conifer and a nonprofit called A-Home for which Harckham once served as president. A-Home was not involved in the Conifer project, the committee stated, and said it was “not factual” to call the project “another conflict of interest scandal” regarding Harckham.
Murphy’s campaign has contends the final ruling was based on an inaccuracy that A-Home wasn’t involved in the Conifer project. A-Home Community was listed as the nonprofit for its project in media, but later changed its name to Allied Community Development.
The nonpartisan committee has the stated purpose to promote honesty and fairness in campaigns. Campaigns may choose to issue complaints to the committee, which may then rule on whether the complaints are fair or unfair.
Its rulings aren’t binding.