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Gloves come off in state Senate race

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State Sen. Marty Connor — embroiled in the political fight of his life — lashed into his 28-year-old opponent as a “trust fund man” with little life and neighborhood experience.

The fiery debate for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday night came at the close of a bitter campaign for state Senate — in a district that includes Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Lower Manhattan — that pitted newcomer Daniel Squadron against an incumbent who has been in office longer than his opponent has been alive.

At one point, moderator Dick Dadey of the non-partisan Citizens Union had to stop the men and sternly remind them to “not get personal here.”

He easily could have repeated the warning.

At one point, Connor, angered by a Squadron charge that he accepts campaign contributions from corporations, political action committees and lobbyists, lashed back that Squadron’s personal wealth has propped up the insurgent’s campaign.

“I’m not wealthy, Dan, I’m not a trust fund man. I don’t have rich relatives,” Connor said, suggesting that Squadron ran a full-time campaign because he had “no job,” whereas Connor “had to go to Albany and represent the people every week.”

The son of one of the city’s most powerful lawyers, the late Howard Squadron, Connor’s rival for the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO seat drew about $180,000 from a trust fund last year, according to his tax return.

Squadron lashed back at Connor, saying that the incumbent has, from “Day 1, … personally attacked me and my family…and I believe exploited the fact that my father passed away.”

That exchange was a heated highlight, but this debate — at St. Francis College on Remsen Street — often strayed from Marquess of Queensbury rules. Indeed, Connor’s very opening statement went after Squadron’s young age.

“I’m older than Dan, so taking [the allotted] three minutes to tell my life story will be harder,” said Connor, 63.

Squadron kept a blank face and a tight smile during Connor’s attack on his youthfulness, pulling his punches until the right moment.

That opportunity presented itself when Squadron charged that Connor was part of an Albany Old Guard in desperate need of reform.

At one point, he quoted a Daily News editorial about the circumstances of Connor’s ouster as the Senate minority leader in 2002.

Connor retorted, “Dan, you weren’t there — you were in college.”

The debate did feature some substantive exchanges.

Connor noted that he has the Senate’s “best environmental record,” while his opponent papered Borough Hall last weekend with posters during a campaign stop at the Greenmarket.

“It’s not OK to plaster your campaign posters all over city property,” Connor said. “You won’t see me standing under posters.”

After the debate, Brooklyn Heights resident and Connor supporter Mona Bregman confronted Squadron to complain about receiving “handfuls” of his direct mailings.

“When you’re done, please recycle them,” Squadron said.

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Reader Feedback

Karl from Dumbo says:
Squadron came off pretty lame last night. He spoke in generalities and wouldn't even talk about what he has DONE for his own community. Connor is far from perfect but give me a break, Squadron is trying to buy the senate seat with the help of his buddy Schumer.
Sept. 4, 2008, 12:46 pm
Alex from Lower Manhattan says:
Squadron left with his foot in his mouth. Connor ate him alive.
Sept. 4, 2008, 2:14 pm
Resident from Brooklyn Heights says:
Were you two at the same debate I was at last night?

Connor is upset (understandably) and regretful of the fact that he hasn't done squat for the 25th SD recently. Once an effective legislator and public servant, he has found a cozy home in the backrooms of Albany instead of hitting the streets and fighting for the needs of his constituents.

But coupling a booming and offensive voice with cheap personal attacks doesn't really compare to campaigning tirelessly for months. Squadron has done the latter. He radiates intelligence, is a born public servant, and has the experience (contrary to charges) to provide effective leadership for the district.
Sept. 4, 2008, 3:13 pm
anaon from dumbo says:
Marty deserves to loose and loose he will
Sept. 4, 2008, 5:06 pm
Bklyn4life says:
All this talk about Squadron being a kid and too young? To anybody who was at the debate last night it was abundantly clear who the child was.
Mr. Connor throughout the debate was making childish faces behind Mr. Squadron as he was speaking, losing his temper multiple times, and attacking Mr. Squadron's family.
Mr. Connor last night, faced with losing his seat threw a tantrum like child getting their favorite toy taken away.
Sept. 4, 2008, 6:38 pm
melodysrepcorner@earthlink.net from carroll gdns says:
Yes, Mr Connor has been around longer, look all he has achieved with all different neighborhoods and their problems. Him and his team, are constantly on the go, looking out, interacting and making sure, that whatever problems there are, their than resolved. In front of the Eileen Dugan Senior Center- there was always a problem for the Access Aride Shuttle to park, because of the meters. Now, the problem has been resolved, seniors can now gracefully board the Access Aride, without having to step off the curb to go into the street to a traffic of oncoming cars.
Sept. 5, 2008, 12:19 pm

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