ITHACA – The next congressional election is still more than 13 months away, but things are already starting to heat up in the race for New York’s 23 Congressional District.
On Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee began to run a series of robo-calls to nearly 30,000 voters in the district, encouraging them to contact Democratic Congressional candidate Martha Robertson (Ithaca), demanding she cancel her upcoming fundraiser headlined by Peter Yarrow of the 60s folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.
In 1970, Yarrow was convicted of taking “improper liberties” with a 14-year-old female and served three months in jail for the incident. Yarrow was 32 at the time. On Sunday, Sept. 29, Yarrow is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser in Ithaca, with proceeds to benefit Robertson’s congressional campaign.
The robo-calls featured a woman claiming to be from Bradford, Pa. and urge voters to contact the Robertson campaign and tell her to not have Yarrow as part of her fundraiser.
Robertson has refused to comment on the decision to bring in Yarrow for the fundraiser and has thus far resisted pressure to cancel the event. She is the likely challenger to Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning).
Reed has also been pressured by Democratic leaders. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Marc Brumer has said that Reed is the only candidate in this race who has potentially broken the law, and is now facing federal investigation into his use of campaign funds to pay his personal property taxes. Reed has said he welcomes the investigation, saying the payment was an inadvertent mistake that he quickly corrected.