A Democratic candidate for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on New York's City Council refused to answer a campaign finance question on Tuesday, asking a reporter from DNAinfo.com what "a pretty girl" like her is doing reading electoral finance disclosures. Reporter Victoria Bekiempis wrote that the candidate, Ed Hartzog, made the remark to her when she asked about the fact that at least 10 of Hartzog's 21 donors live outside of New York state.
Hartzog, a former staffer for U.S. Congressional Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), is running for Jessica Lappin's seat as the representative for New York City's District 5, which includes the Upper East Side, Flatiron, Union Square, Times Square and Gramercy Park neighborhoods. His campaign has not been widely publicized, but he has raised nearly $8,000 in the last month.
Bekiempis noted to Hartzog at a press conference that, according to filings at the New York City Campaign Finance Board website, at least half of Hartzog's donors live out-of-state.
Hartzog said of the documents displayed at the site, "What's a pretty girl like you doing reading those?"
Moments later, the candidate attempted to mollify his remarks by saying, "I hope for goodness sake that my flippant comment isn't going to be part of the story. I was just sort of being something. I hope you didn't take offense by that. I didn't mean to be offensive."
Fifty-year-old Hartzog is the son of George B. Hartzog, who was director of the National Parks Service from 1964 to 1972, and from whom the candidate said he got his interest in holding public office.
"I watched him, and those politicians from that era, do a lot of great things at that time, and I saw them getting a lot of things done," he said. "Even though I was very small, I was old enough to appreciate it and find it very exciting."
Longtime political strategist Hank Sheinkopf is rumored to be a potential permanent member of Hartzog's team. Sheinkopf, known in political circles as "The Terminator," has been working with the Hartzog campaign on an as-needed basis, but may become a permanent staff member.
"We've been having a good time together," Sheinkopf said, "and it might lead to a more permanent engagement."
Hartzog said that he would be happy to work with Sheinkopf, "I would feel very fortunate to have someone of his stature and experience on both the national and local level work on my campaign."
[Ed Hartzog official photo from EdHartzog2013.com]