After Nan Hayworth’s campaign spokesman resigned in June, Democrats are looking to make an issue of a new top Hayworth aide.
The Republican congresswoman’s former top adviser, Jay Townsend, resigned after he wrote a Facebook wall post saying, “Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.”
Hayworth’s new campaign manager, Karl Brabenec, has managed to offend some women in his political career too.
Meanwhile, he was criticized by a good government advocate for continuing to serve as the town supervisor and police commissioner of Deer Park, population 8,000, while also serving as Hayworth’s full-time campaign manager.
The 34-year-old Brabenec made headlines in 2003 after circulating flyers for a birthday party dubbed “Karlpalooza” at a Young Republicans convention in Boston. The flyers promised “liquor and sex to go around all evening” and encouraged female party attendees to “wear as little clothing as possible.”
At the time, Brabenec was working as an aide to Orange County Executive Edward Diana, and the incident, which was splashed across the front pages of the Times-Herald Record, prompted Diana to seek Brabenec’s resignation.
“Karlpalooza. People do remember that,” said Orange County Democratic Committee chairman Jonathan Jacobson.
The Brabenec hire came after Hayworth’s campaign was criticized for its slow response to Townsend’s Facebook comments, which became national news as Democrats pushed the idea that the GOP was waging a “war on women” in Congress.
Jacobson said he thought Brabenec’s hiring was “emblematic of the type of Congresswoman Nan Hayworth would be.”
“Nan Hayworth, even though she’s a doctor and a woman, her representation in Washington has been against healthcare and against women,” Jacobson said.
Repeated attempts to reach Brabenec were unsuccessful. Hayworth’s campaign dismissed the 2003 party as a non-issue.
Hayworth campaign spokesman Michael Knowles said the party the flyer advertised never happened, and was planned without Brabenec’s knowledge.
“If the best they can do is drudge up a stupid party from a decade ago that a campaign staffer jokingly held, then I think we’re running a much better campaign focusing on the issues,” Knowles said.
Hayworth, a Hudson Valley ophthalmologist, was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, but now faces a serious challenge from Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney in a race that both parties have targeted as a possible swing district.
Hayworth’s political opponents have also seized on Brabenec’s more recent conduct, pointing out that he currently holds a position as the Deer Park town supervisor and police commissioner, a part-time salaried position, and has no plans to take an unpaid leave of absence while he runs Hayworth’s campaign.
“He is a full time supervisor, and he will continue to be the full time supervisor for the town of Deer Park. He will not spend any less time serving his constituents and any less time or energy or effort on his job as supervisor,” said Hayworth campaign spokesman Michael Knowles.
Good government groups criticized Brabenec’s conduct as unorthodox.
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