SENECA FALLS — Households in the towns of Seneca Falls and Waterloo recently received glossy, color flyers from a group called Responsible Solutions for New York, endorsing five Republican candidates for town offices.
A Google search finds no website or listing for an organization by that name.
The five candidates endorsed are Mike Ferrara, Dawn Dyson and Joshua Larsen in Seneca Falls and Mike Pfeiffer and Bob Lotz in Waterloo.
The source of the flyers is a mystery, even to the candidates being endorsed.
“I didn’t give anyone permission to do this. The first time I saw it was in my home mailbox. I was surprised to see it. I don’t know who did this,” Ferrara said.
Larsen said the same.
“I first saw it in my mailbox. I don’t know who it came from. I did not solicit it and was not asked to have this done. I have no idea who this group is,” Larsen said.
In Waterloo, Pfeiffer also is puzzled.
“I first saw it when I came home from work and there it was. No one talked to me or asked me about this and I have no idea who the group is,” he said.
Three of the five candidates have not filed a pre-election campaign finance disclosure report with the state Board of Elections. Ferrara and Larsen filed an “in lieu of” form saying they would not raise or spend more than $1,000 on their campaigns.
The return address on the double-sided flyer is P.O. Box 587, Crompond, New York, 10517, which is near Yorktown in Westchester County.
The Seneca Falls fyer pictures a gray-haired man giving a thumbs up next to the words “Seneca Falls Deserves Responsible Leaders Who Will Protect Our Tax Dollars.” It then lists Ferrara, Dyson and Larsen with check marks next to their names. All are Republicans. Ferrara is running for town supervisor; Dyson and Larsen for Town Board seats.
At the bottom of the page are the words “Paid for by Responsible Solutions for New York — not expressly authorized or requested by any candidate, or by any candidate’s political committee or any of its agents.”
The other side of the flyer states “Seneca Falls Has Responsible Candidates for Town Council.” Underneath is the word “Republicans” and then Ferrara, Dyson and Larsen. There are four color photos, none of which is any of the three candidates, making reference to holding the line on out-of-control property taxes, creating jobs and economic opportunity, fighting the opioid epidemic and ensuring first responders are properly funded.
At the bottom are the words “Vote for Responsible Solutions and a Brighter Future.” Early voting begins Oct. 26. Election Day is Nov. 5.
The flyer for Waterloo is the same except the name of the community and candidates are different. The two candidates endorsed, both Republicans, are Lotz and Pfeiffer.
Susan Sauvageau is the Democratic Party chairwoman in Seneca Falls and a candidate for county supervisor.
She has written a letter to the editor questioning the flyers, suggesting “dark money” from unknown sources may have entered local politics. “Did these candidates pay for this advertisement? Probably not. It does not contain any of their pictures, using instead file images of others. It mistakenly lists three candidates for Town Board when one is actually running for town supervisor,” she wrote.
“Do you wonder who did pay for this? Do you wonder why they picked only three of the seven Republican candidates on the Seneca Falls ballot? Who are these people and what do they expect from these candidates?” Sauvageau asked, adding that local voters would probably like to know.