It’s hard to know if the contest between incumbent Republican Tom Reed and Democrat challenger Tracy Mitrano in NY-23 is competitive.

Cook and a couple of other analysts have moved the race from Safe/Solid Republican to Likely Republican. No one has moved it to toss up or even Lean Republican.

There is no public polling in the district. Siena, which has polled several upstate NY districts, is not bothering to poll in NY-23. None of the national Democrat groups has gotten involved, which may be a sign that they don’t see much likelihood of an upset.

Mitrano released limited poll results recently from a progressive online polling group purporting to show Reed up only two points. That would be astounding, if true. Yet neither the Mitrano campaign nor the pollster would release the full results to me, despite my request. In all likelihood, this is the type of tactic a desperate campaign uses to try to drum up media coverage, excitement, and fundraising. The Mitrano campaign played games with earlier polling by the same pollster over the summer. There’s reason to be suspicious this time as well:

I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday whether the poll was legitimate or just political flim-flam.

Meanwhile, the air wars have heated up, with both sides running attack ads, and complaining about the attack ads run by their opponents.

Against this backdrop, the Reed campaign today issued a blast-email Press Release accusing a Mitrano staffer of posting an anti-cop, anti-capitalist social media image.

RELEASE: Top Advisor and a Spokesperson for Tracy Mitrano’s Campaign Reveals Anti-Police and Anti-American Agenda

* * *

Top Advisor and a Spokesperson for Tracy Mitrano’s Campaign
Reveals Anti-Police and Anti-American Agenda

Tracy Mitrano’s extreme agenda was exposed overnight by a spokesperson and paid member of her campaign team on Instagram.

The post, which is too vulgar to share uncensored but can be seen here, degrades the police, capitalism, Tom Reed and President Trump.

“It’s stunning that a paid member of Tracy Mitrano’s staff and a spokesperson for her campaign would make such hateful and offensive statements,” said Abbey Daugherty, Communications Director for Tom Reed for Congress. “It shows what truly motivates Tracy Mitrano and her team: a hatred of our law enforcement community and our capitalist system. This should further illustrate to voters why they simply cannot trust Tracy Mitrano.”

“We need a representative who supports law enforcement, law and order, and the belief that you are innocent until proven guilty. And that person is Tom Reed,” said Sandy King, retired New York State Trooper.

“Tom represents all of us with honor and dignity. As a retired career law enforcement officer, US Army veteran and father, I know that we need Tom Reed,” said Mike Healy, Chair of the Allegany County Republican Committee.

The link in the press release goes to the Extreme Ithaca Liberal website run by Reed’s campaign, and this Instagram image:

http://archive.is/hBAGp

The Reed campaign provided the following information as to the identity of the Mitrano staffer: “In response to your inquiry, this post was brought to our attention and came from an Instagram account belonging to Hadiyah Chowdhury, a Regional Field Organizer for Tracy Mitrano’s campaign working out of her Corning office.”

The Instagram account in question is set to private now, but the Instagram account name does identify the person as Chowdhury, whose Linked-In account identifies her as a “Regional Field Organizer” for the Mitrano campaign starting August 2018. [It appears that this is the same person who, as a student at Cornell, was a leading anti-Israel campus activist.]

An email to Mitrano’s Campaign Manager and Communications Director seeking comment on the Reed press release has not been responded to as of this writing. Chowdhury did not respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.

Will this be a big issue in these final days?

It plays into the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” campaign theme Reed has been using against Mitrano.

https://www.facebook.com/TomReedforCongress/videos/1914723051916482/

It also reinforces Reed’s claim that Mitrano is not the moderate she purports to be, and is hiding a more leftist agenda.

If the race is as close as Mitrano claims, it could help to motivate Reed’s base of support among law enforcement and non-Ithaca voters.

And voter turnout could be the key if this is in fact a close race.

UPDATE:

Chowdhury has resigned according to the Olean Times Herald:

A paid staff member of the Tracy Mitrano congressional campaign team resigned Saturday after the Tom Reed campaign disclosed a vulgar posting on her Instagram account….

“It’s stunning that a paid member of Tracy Mitrano’s staff and a spokesperson for her campaign would make such hateful and offensive statements,” said Abbey Daugherty, communications director for Tom Reed for Congress. “It shows what truly motivates Tracy Mitrano and her team: a hatred of our law enforcement community and our capitalist system.”

Mitrano released a statement late Saturday: “One of my campaign field workers put a post on social media last night that was not in keeping with the standards to which I have run my campaign for the last 16 months,” Mitrano said.

“The staffer does not speak for the campaign and the statements made in the post do not in any way represent me or my values. I have long talked about the need for respect and decency in politics. As a result, the staffer has turned in her resignation and I have accepted it.”