A reader who lives in the 37th Senate District forwarded this mailer that attacks the Democrats’ candidate for retiring Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer’s seat, Assemblyman George Latimer, for his ongoing support of Speaker Sheldon Silver following Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment scandal.

Latimer and his Republican opponent, Bob Cohen, have traded barbs over Silver’s handling of the Lopez mess, with Cohen calling on the speaker to resign and Latimer saying he prefers to wait until JCOPE has completed its investigation before jumping to any conclusions.

I believe this is the first piece of anti-Silver literature to hit mailboxes so far this campaign general election season. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong). UPDATE: I’ve been reminded of this mailer sent out by Albany Common Councilman Frank Commisso Jr., who was one of five losing candidates in the 109th AD primary won by Patricia Fahy.

There was an anti-Lopez mailer sent out in advance of the Sept. 13 Brooklyn district leader race, but this is the first time I’ve heard of Silver becoming an issue in a Senate race.

One Democratic Senate candidate, Terry Gipson (running against GOP Sen. Steve Saland in the 41st SD), and one incumbent Democratic senator, Tony Avella, of Queens, have called for Silver to step down from his leadership post. A few Assembly candidates did the same in the immediate wake of the scandal, but no sitting Assembly members have followed suit to date.

It’s worth noting that this mailer was NOT paid for by Cohen’s campaign, but rather by the New York Republican State Committee - AKA the state GOP.

The Republicans have been beating the drum for Silver’s resignation for some time now, and are even using their on-line petition as a fund-raising tool (although party leaders appeared to confuse Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith in their last missive).

UPDATE: Mike Murphy, who’s on loan to several Senate campaigns from the Democratic conference, sent the following response from Team Latimer:

“Once again, Anti-Choice Bob Cohen and his conservative allies are using the same tired tactics to distract voters from their candidate’s and their party’s abysmal record on women’s issues.”

“No amount of lies and distortions can cover up the fact the Bob Cohen and his Republican supporters have failed to stand up for women. The Senate Republican blocked votes for strengthening sexual harassment safeguards, for pay equity for working women and for protections for women’s health.”

“George Latimer’s advocacy on women’s issues is well known to the residents of Westchester, which is why he’s been endorsed by various women’s rights groups including NARAL and Planned Parenthood and has the overwhelming support of women in the 37th District.”

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