ALBANY – The political fundraising arm of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union, VOTE-COPE, is being condemned on both sides of the political aisle for sending out literature attacking Republicans, and using images of battered women.

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One such image goes after Republican Mark Grisanti, who is in a three-way race to represent the 60th State Senate District.

The mailer shows a woman with black eyes and severe facial bruising, accompanied by the statement “Mark Grisanti won’t protect her from her abuser.”

A similar mailer has cropped up in other Senate Districts as well, against Republicans Sue Serino and Terrence Murphy in the Hudson Valley.

That’s right, Sue Serino doesn’t want to stop domestic violence, according to the NYSUT.

The presumed intent of the mailers is to point out Republican opposition to the Women’s Equality Act – a 10-point plan in which most Republicans support 9 of the planks, but oppose the one plank which conservatives describe as an expansion of abortion in New York state.

The Buffalo News took the NYSUT and VOTE-COPE to task for their efforts:

… It is rare that Western New Yorkers are subjected to a campaign as vile and devious as the one leaving its trail in the three-way race to represent the 60th State Senate District. And driving the dishonest and distorted contest are New York’s school teachers, or, more specifically, New York State United Teachers, the largest of the state’s teachers unions.

Think of it: The organization representing the people who teach – and who act as role models for – millions of young New Yorkers is engaged in a flatly deceitful effort to mislead voters, to smear the incumbent and to do whatever it can to ensure that a lawbreaker is elected. Why? Because the union, which doesn’t much care for teacher evaluations, desperately wants Democrats to control the Senate and unseating Mark Grisanti is key to achieving that dubious goal.

That effort reached its nadir – thus far, anyway – with an ad in such horrifyingly bad taste that it should make everyone who sees it blanch. Indeed, that seems to be happening, with critics from all corners criticizing VOTE-COPE, the political arm of NYSUT, for producing it. …

VOTE-COPE is cheerily indifferent to the criticism. Its single-minded focus is to help deliver the Senate to Democrats, and apparently by any means possible, including the exploitation of abused women – some of whom are bound to be teachers – and also by setting out to hoodwink voters.

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Grisanti has demanded an apology for the mailer saying that “The depiction of a battered woman for political gain is not only improper and insensitive, but an exploitation of survivors of domestic abuse.”

He would also say the attempts to smear him as “disgusting.”

Also disgusted with the NYSUT is Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who referred to it as “horrible.”

This is why “people hate politics,” he tweeted.

Thus far, the NYSUT has spent nearly $6.8 million this election cycle.

Authored by Rusty Weiss