Erie County Executive Race: Campaign Calls or Dirty Politics?

8:10 PM, Oct 28, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- 2 On Your Side has heard from dozens of people complaining of countless calls from Erie County Executive Democratic Candidate Mark Poloncarz's campaign.

Many posted on our Facebook page that they received several phone calls per day from someone claiming she was with the Poloncarz camp, and in some cases the caller would just hang up.

However, a spokesperson for Poloncarz says his campaign is not making these phone calls.

"I wouldn't want to guess on who might be behind it, but I sure would like to see, and I know the campaign would like to see an investigation to see who is pestering voters," says Peter Anderson, Poloncarz Campaign spokesman.

2 On Your Side called the number that is making the calls. We only heard a message saying, "If you received a call from this number, you were contacted regarding a political opinion poll. Thank you."

While Poloncarz's team didn't point the finger at his opponent, party officials are. Charlie King, the State Democratic Party Executive Director, issued the following statement regarding the reports of impostor phone calls:

"The State Democratic Party is asking Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III to investigate reports of widespread and fraudulent phone calls that specifically target Democratic voters in Erie County."

"Republicans clearly recognize they cannot win their upcoming elections on their own merits and are resorting to their usual playbook of unethical and reckless tactics. This is voter suppression at its most deceitful. Those responsible for these calls should be forced to answer to the proper authorities. No issue should be taken more seriously than the attempt to tamper with the democratic process so that people can cast their vote fairly."

Chris Collins' spokesman said in a statement, "Poloncarz is now claiming that phone calls coming on behalf of him from his allies are really smears..."

Spokesman Stefan Mychajliw said this is an attempt by Poloncarz to use "smoke and mirrors" to change the conversation from the voter fraud investigation at the Erie County Board of Elections. 2 On Your Side has learned deputies are closing in on an arrest of a Democratic staffer for marking absentee ballots for Chris Collins.

Collins' team, like the state Democratic Party, didn't provide any proof as to who is actually making the calls. Despite both sides' claims of dirty politics, the person actually behind the calls is still a mystery.

Thos who feel they've been harassed by the calls can click here to file a complaint.

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