Staffers from Democratic state Senate candidate Justin Wagner's campaign made a surprise visit to incumbent Greg Ball at a Mount Kisco press conference on Friday morning, resulting in a quick argument between the two sides.
The group, including Campaign Manager Steve Napier, came with flip flops in hand as a way to paint Ball (R-Patterson) as someone who is conveniently changes position on increasing the state minimum wage. Ball, who opposes a standalone increase, denies that he has flip flopped, noting that he support an increase if it's coupled with a tax cut package for small businesses so that they can afford the hike.
Napier got into a quick confrontation with his counterpart in the Ball campaign, Jim Coleman, as he approached with the flip flops.
“Got some flip flops for you on your most recent flip flop," Napier said about Ball.
Sternly, Coleman replied, “Senator Ball does not need this. He does not need this.”
Coleman then described the Wagner campaign's antics as "your little cartoon" and added they should take more seriously what Ball is doing.
The rhetoric between the two camps was tense throughout when one side mentioned the other.
“My opponent’s probably jealous that he didn’t come up with the ideas himself, and I get that and I understand, that’s fine," Ball said during the press conference.
Talking to reporters, state senator was adament that he has not flip flopped, an allegation that Wagner's side vigorously asserts. He repeated noted that his opposition is to a standlone wage increase, but that he is in favor of one if it's coupeld with tax relief for small businesses.
“The last thing we would want would be the unintended consequence of actually laying people off on the lower end of the pay scale, which an increase in the minimum wage without helping small business owners can do," Ball said about a standalone increase.
The clash is not the first of its kind between the two campaigns. In August, Ball's campaign held an event outside of Wagner's campaign headquarters in Peekskill to claim that Wagner (D-Croton-on-Hudson) has a conflict of interest, through is law firm employer, regarding the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique for natural gas. According to various news reports from the time, Wagner's campaign retaliated, with signage placed behind Coleman as he addressed the situation.
Ball was joined by a group of supporters at the press conference, including former Mount Kisco Mayor Patricia Reilly. His package includes raising the state number from $7.25 an hour to $8.50. It also includes getting rid of taxes on manufacturers, a 20-percent corporate tax cut and repealing the MTA payroll tax. Much of the provisions in Ball's package were previously discussed last month by the lawmarker at a press conference at Mount Kisco's A&S.
In an interview after his confrontation, Napier argued that Wagner has had a similar position for months.
Asked about Wagner's campaign crashing the press conference, Ball retorted, “I wear cowboy boots myself, as you can see." He added that Wagner was "a day late and a dollar short.”
The two are running for the 40th Senate District, which includes parts of northern and central Westchester County (including Mount Kisco), eastern Putnam County and two towns in southern Dutchess County.