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Another Local Republican Mailer in Question, Deemed Anti-Semitic

Republican candidate Edward Charamut mailer about Rep. Matt Lesser

CT NewJunkie reports Rep. Matt Lesser, who is running for the state Senate seat in Middletown, knew there would be attack ads and nasty mailings distorting his voting history. But he was not prepared for the mailer that came from Edward Charamut, his Republican opponent. The mailer shows a distorted image of Lesser holding five hundred dollar bills in his hand. Above the image it says “Less for Seniors. That’s Matt Lesser.”

The Mirror reports the mailer uses an altered image of a wide-eyed, maniacally grinning Lesser grasping hundred-dollar bills, one that Charamut’s campaign first defended as simply portraying Lesser as a tax-and-spend liberal. The piece had a tagline: “Matt Lesser will take everything you worked for.”

“It’s astonishing, even in this environment,” Lesser, who is Jewish, said regarding the mailer.

In a written statement, Charamut’s campaign publicly apologized to Lesser, a 35-year-old state representative from Middletown whose wife, Sarah Steinfeld, grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, four blocks from the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 worshippers were shot to death Saturday in what authorities say was a hate crime.

The Charamut campaign said it found itself Tuesday in “unexpected and uncharted territory.”

“It is heartbreaking that the unintended impact of this mailer has garnered national attention because our state is better than that. Ed is not the kind of person who is being depicted by the media and those in the local and national political scene as well as by those who have left threatening remarks and comments,” the campaign said.

“We sincerely apologize to Matt Lesser, the Jewish Community and anyone who found the mailer to be anything other than a depiction of policy differences between the two candidates.”

Connecticut Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said about the mailer:

“I had the opportunity to discuss some of the context of the recent mailer sent by candidate Ed Charamut involving State Representative Matt Lesser. Several things have come into perspective from conversations with Jewish friends, including Jewish Republicans. In a race with a Jewish candidate, this image should be recognized as offensive, raising classic anti-Semitic tropes. It cannot be justified. I personally would not have approved this mailer, and I am grateful that the party did not approve it. I have requested to sit down with the ADL to broaden my understanding of and sensitivity to anti-Semitism.”

This latest political mailing blunder comes on the heels of another misleading mailer by Republican Cara Pavalock-D’Amato representing District 77 in Bristol.

Screenshot of mailer from Cara Pavalock-D’Amato.

While Cara Pavalock-D’Amato never offered any anti-semitic rhetoric in her mailer, Pavalock-D’Amato claimed she would stop the closing of a local elementary school — Edgewood School — in her district.

Based on Bristol Board of Education meeting records, the district has no plans to close the school.

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