BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino and community activist Bryon McIntyre are running for seats on the city’s school board.
But both say the race took a different turn in the past few weeks after people across Buffalo received an offensive mailing from an anonymous address.
“The local teachers union, Buffalo Teacher’s Federation leadership sent out to a number of different districts in the city of Buffalo, a mailer, a very malicious and slanderous mailer about me,” said Paladino. “They’ve stooped to a new low.”
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore denies the mailers came from his organization. Political analyst Jack O’Donnell claims this isn’t the first time this has happened in a school election.
"We saw a little of this thee years ago in a couple of the races, there was some outside money spent, a fair amount of money spent by the teachers union," said O’Donnell.
However he says this year has gone to a new extreme.
"There’s just a heightened culture of spending money on political races and it’s filtered finally down to the school board level,” said O’Donnell. “The second factor obviously is the people involved. There are a lot of folks who don’t like Carl Paladino, there are a lot of folks who love him."
For McIntyre, it was troubling to have to explain the flyer to his children.
"What bothered me the most is that my kids came home to this mailing laying on our table and they looked at it and they read it and they were asking me what does this mean, what is this about?" McIntyre said.
O’Donnell says despite the negativity, there may a silver lining.
He says voter turnout is typically low for school elections in the city, and this kind of controversy might get people talking.
"Getting five percent turnout is almost unheard of in these races, so hopefully this level of attention will get more folks involved," said O’Donnell.
Elections are scheduled for May 7th.