A fender bender—or “hit and run”—has become a campaign issue in the Democratic race for attorney general.
A car Democratic attorney general candidate Eric Schneiderman was riding in (and being driven by a niece of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan) banged into a car owned by a NY1 editor earlier this week, the television station reported Tuesday.
NY1’s report called the accident a “hit-and-run” after a witness observed the incident and reported it. Total damage to the car is expected to cost $3,000, according to the station.
Schneiderman’s campaign quickly pushed back against the story. The campaign called it a fender bender and said Schneiderman, a Manhattan state senator, wasn’t aware of the accident when it occurred. He called to apologize, said spokesman James Freedland.
“For NY1 to call this a ‘hit and run’ is nothing short of outrageous. Last night when pulling out of a parking space, a staff member driving Eric Schneiderman’s car bumped the car parked in front of them,” Freedland said in a statement. “The senator was in the passenger seat and did not believe that either his car or the car in front of his had sustained damage. He later discovered his car had been dented, and this morning was notified it had damaged the bumper and tail light of the other car. He has spoken with the owner of the other vehicle, expressed his sincere apology, and offered to pay for all repairs. No injuries were sustained.”
Kathleen Rice, the Nassau district attorney and one of Schneiderman’s four rivals for the Democratic attorney general nomination, chimed in with a statement, calling the allegations “disturbing.”
“These are clearly very disturbing allegations. Like a lot of New Yorkers, we will be reserving judgment on the incident involving State Senator Schneiderman until all of the facts are made public,” Rice said.
And, not to be outdone, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. issued a comment as well, calling for Schneiderman’s ouster from the Democratic Party, a blood-alcohol test and a Senate investigation.
“Why has there been no arrest in this crime committed by Senator Eric Schneiderman’s driver? If I were to permit my staff person to commit a hit and run or better yet, if Senator Pedro Espada had permitted his staff person to leave the scene of a car accident, would neither of us be arrested?”