New York Democratic political activist Mike Flynn wrote a letter on Friday published by local news outlet Watertown Daily Times demanding that Elise Stefanik, the Republican candidate for New York’s 21st congressional district, reveal her private romantic and dating history.
Her Democratic opponent Aaron Woolf denounced the letter, calling it “reprehensible and antithetic to what this campaign does or should represent.”
But Flynn didn’t take his dismissal lightly, firing back by releasing off-the-record Facebook and email correspondence with the Woolf campaign and state Democratic party — communications he claims prove he was “on-message” and working on the campaign’s behalf.
The grammatically-challenged letter noted that the 30-year-old Stefanik “hadn’t mentioned anything about her significant other, nor had she been asked by the Fourth Estate about any ongoing relationship she was involved with in her private life . . . I don’t think this falls under the heading of prying eyes.”
“I didn’t ask that Ms. Stefanik tell us more about herself personally and tell us about anyone she might be dating to be salacious,” he continued. “I asked whom she was dating to find out what type of person they were and if elected to play a future role in Congress.”
The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow accused Flynn of sexism. “Would Flynn be asking this question of a successful, single man running for office?” she asked. And the Woolf campaign quickly disavowed Flynn’s message on Twitter.
But this weekend, things got weird.
On popular northern New York political blog “Mayor Graham’s View,” Flynn — writing under the name “Middle-Class Mike” — began posting what he alleged were extensive Facebook and email conversations between himself, Woolf campaign manager Stu Rosenberg and Democratic Party field director Ryan Smith.
Flynn claimed he’d been tapped by the Woolf campaign to write letters to local newspapers supporting the Democratic candidate and attacking his Republican opponent — offering as evidence an undated email exchange between himself and Smith.
“These were the issues you were going to write about,” Smith wrote to Flynn, listing topics like “getting answers” and the “public’s rights to be informed.” The Democratic consultant urged Flynn to “get it out to the papers as soon as you can.”
Some of Flynn’s letters apparently pleased the Woolf campaign, as evidenced by another exchange between the activist and Rosenberg.
“Keep on pushing our messages. They are working,” Rosenberg said. “Just pay attention to us. You’re picking up on our themes very well and doing a great job.”
“It seems the Woolf campaign wanted my help — but only if things went right,” Flynn wrote. “Did I have informal contact with Woolf Campaign — yes I did and it’s hypocritical for them to duck that point in my opinion.”
“The Woolf Campaign new [sic] what I was about,” he later claimed. “And trust me — this may still shake out as important when Stefanik is forced to go on the record about her Wash. DC relationships.”
Some local political commentators accused the campaign of pushing Flynn to do their dirty work. “Whenever someone who is married with children runs against someone not married and without children there is always some kind of effort to suggest there is something amiss with the barren candidate,” wrote Watertown, New York mayor Jeffrey Graham on his blog.
“It’s just how do you talk about that openly as its awkward,” he explained. “One way is to use third parties to introduce the suggestions into the debate through letters to the editor, blog posts or talk shows . . . In this case, the campaign got caught doing it.”
The Woolf campaign — which has focused heavily on women’s issues — vehemently denies it had anything to do with Flynn’s demand that Stefanik reveal her sexual history. Yianni Varonis, Woolf’s communications director, told The Daily Caller that exchanges between the Democratic campaign and Flynn “were entirely focused on our efforts to get Elise Stefanik to finally come clean on her plans to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for North Country citizens.”
“Her campaign keeps pushing this story to divert attention away from the fact that, it’s been 146 days, and Elise Stefanik still refuses to say if she supports her mentor Paul Ryan’s plan to end the Medicare guarantee,” he explained.
Varonis also claimed that immediately after the letter’s publication, it was decided that Flynn — whom he described as a “volunteer” — “would no longer be allowed to associate with [the Woolf] campaign.”
Given Flynn’s scorched earth attack against his former candidate, TheDC doubts that association will resume anytime soon.