An interesting piece in today’s Buffalo News portrays Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, the GOP/Conservative contender in the NY-26 special election, as a ruthless behind-the-scenes political player who is often mistaken by her opponents – at their peril – as a meek as retiring back-bencher.

How tough are we talking here? Well, tough enough not to take any of this “enemy of reform” garbage from some 86-year-old downstater, apparently. Here’s how the story opens:

When former New York City Mayor Ed Koch came to town last year to stump for his Albany reform agenda, one of the first people he called out was Assemblywoman Jane Corwin.

The words “enemy of reform” were barely out of Koch’s mouth before the normally cautious and guarded Corwin was on the phone looking to set Koch straight.

What followed was a spirited exchange with a Koch aide in which a livid Corwin threatened to sue the former mayor’s reform group.

“He was wrong,” she said. “He was challenging my integrity, and that’s why I reacted so strongly. I was really angry because what he was doing did not allow for an adult conversation.”

That’s the Jane Corwin people rarely see.

That lawsuit never materialized – at least not that I’ve seen.

Corwin also gets props from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb for standing up to the infamously tough-talking (and, at times, bombastic) former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and for not shying away from talking about the “indiscretion” of her 2008 primary opponent, fellow Republican Michael Cole, who spent a drunken night on the floor of an Assembly intern’s apartment.

(The married father of two insisted nothing untoward happened, but was censured anyway).