Elevated policy debates are all too rare, and lowdown personal attacks all too common, in modern election campaigns. And it’s hard to imagine two political foes having more personal ammunition to use against each other than the candidates recently nominated by the two major parties to run for District 16 in the New York State Assembly.
They’ve been married for 32 years.
Three-term incumbent Martha Schimel is a Democrat. Mark Schimel, after decades as a Republican, switched parties on behalf of his wife when she first ran for office.
However, now that he’s out of her house, he’s back in the GOP. And he was running for her office — until Tuesday, when he withdrew under what the New York Daily News called “family pressure.”
Both candidates had said they would focus their campaigns on pertinent public — not personal marital — issues.
That wasn’t the case in these parts 12 years ago when incumbent Shirley Hinson narrowly defeated estranged husband Jimmy Hinson in an ugly Republican primary for a Statehouse seat from Berkeley County.
Back to the now-canceled wife-vs.-husband race on Long Island: Lots of folks — including a few who are close to Mr. Schimel — voiced disapproval of his decision to challenge this particular State Assembly member.
For instance, his mother, Irma Schimel, told the Daily News: “I can’t believe he’d do a thing like this.”
She warned: “He’ll never win anything against Michelle. They [the voters] love her.”
Gee, how did Mother’s Day go for Mark and his mom?
Regardless of who would have won that election, though, when mudslinging dominates campaigns, even the victors come away stained.
And even if you’re not running for office against your spouse (or anybody else), try not to let political differences strain family ties.
After all, your spouse, children, parents, aunts, uncles and other relations have the same self-governing right you do to back the wrong candidates.