Crank Calls Alleged in 55th Senate District Race
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They are a key tool in most political campaigns. Democratic Party staffers spent Tuesday working the phones for 55th Senate District candidate Ted O'Brien.
But Democrats say someone else has been working the phones.
"The phone calls continued on an hourly basis," said Cynthia Groetch.
Claiming to be calling on behalf of O'Brien. Groetch says the calls began on Friday.
"I was so angry."
And continued all day Saturday.
"I got nasty and said enough is enough."
Democrats say it's a smear tactic.
"This is despicable," said Joe Morelle.
Party boss Joe Morelle accuses O'Brien's opponent, Republican Assemblyman Sean Hanna.
"We would ask them please stop. Stop harassing voters, stop intimidating people, stop interrupting people's lives. Run your campaign, we'll run ours. Let's leave it at that," Morelle said.
We called the numbers. They were local numbers with a 697 exchange. We got the following message:
"Hello, we are calling about the upcoming election. Your opinions are very important to us. We will try and call you in the next couple of days. Thank you."
We couldn't trace the origin of the calls.
Groetch says call after call, she finally had had it.
"And I said enough. You have called me all day, every hour on the hour, I said enough."
Republicans say they have no idea who made the calls.
Monroe County Republicans would not go on camera to discuss the allegations, but chairman Bill Reilich did tell YNN he thought the allegations were ridiculous.
"We have no knowledge of this," said Reilich, adding Republican campaigns focus on issues that pertain to taxpayers, not high school hijinks. He says Hanna has no knowledge of the calls either, saying "The party is not involved in any way shape or form." Reilich says the party is looking into the origin of the calls.
"This has been done to, I'm sure, thousands of people," Morelle said.
Morelle, who says his office has received calls from dozens of people, also says he's looking into whether the calls violated criminal law.
"This has to stop."