Hayworth Aide Quits

Jay Townsend

Suggested acid attacks on female democrats

 By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong 

As Democratic candidates competed for the nomination to take on Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth in the race for  U.S. Congress, a prominent Hayworth campaign aide quit Monday (June 4) after lampooning female Democratic politicians as worthy targets of acid attacks – a painful and disfiguring if not fatal form of harassment of women in parts of the world. In a terse statement on Monday, Hayworth revealed that “Jay Townsend has offered, and I have accepted, his resignation from his position with my campaign. Now let’s return to talking about issues that really matter to families: job creation, spending restraint and economic development.”

Townsend, president of The Townsend Group, a public relations firm catering to the further-right end of the Republican/Conservative spectrum, on May 26 posted a Facebook comment that blasted supposed liberal hypocrites in Congress. “Let’s hurl some acid at those female Democratic senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector,” he wrote on a Facebook page devoted to politics. He later apologized for his “incendiary choice of words,” calling his statement “stupid” and “insensitive” and a disservice to his clients. But his initial rant caused a furor that stretched from the mid-Hudson Valley across the country, with national news media and the political blogosphere awash with reactions. At least two of Hayworth’s challengers joined in and on Monday welcomed Townsend’s resignation.

One candidate, Dr. Richard Becker, a Cortlandt Town Board member, claimed credit for the development. “The timing of this announcement, coming one hour after we completed a press conference outside of Hayworth’s office calling on her to take exactly this step, was not coincidental,” Becker said. “Nan Hayworth finally listened to us, listened to reason, and listened to the tens of thousands of people across this country who were justifiably outraged at Townsend’s remarks.”

Another would-be Hayworth opponent, Wappinger’s Falls Mayor Matt Alexander, noted that his campaign had been collecting signatures of people who sought Townsend’s departure. “Thank you for everyone who signed our petition to fire Jay Townsend,” Alexander said. “He’s gone!”

The campaigns of the other Democrats seeking to be the 18th Congressional District candidate, Sean Patrick Maloney, an aide in President Bill Clinton’s White House as well as to former Govs. Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson; Tuxedo Park Mayor Tom Wilson; and Duane Jackson, a small-businessman, apparently issued no immediate statements on Townsend’s departure. The five are scheduled to participate in a Democratic candidates’ forum next Monday (June 11) at 7 p.m. at the North Highlands firehouse.

Townsend unsuccessfully ran against Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY., in 2010, and operates Townsend Group from Orange County, across the Hudson River from Philipstown.
Photo courtesy of Townsend Facebook page

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