Community organizer Katrinna Martin is calling out the alt-left activist and local attorney Jane Cameron — who works for the Attorney General’s office — for attempting to smear 26th district congressional candidate and local businessman Eddie Egriu.
In a series of smears Cameron alleges that a rival election law attorney, Peter Reese, is one of Egriu’s “longtime backers,” and that Egriu is “being propped up by some of the worst elements in WNY politics.”
The Chronicle could not republish the entirety of the exchange, given the vulgar tone.
Reese has not been a campaign contributor to Egriu in past election cycles, or in the current cycle. Egriu did not retain Reese in past election law cases and is not on retainer for his campaign today.
Egriu retains a broad circle of informal advisors.
When Egriu let word leak that he would be challenging incumbent and Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins, a longtime favorite of the local Conservative Party, it sparked concern among party operatives who have been fearing a primary challenge.
A prominent Higgins staffer made a phone call to a DC-based advocacy group with a staff of influential establishment fundraisers who present themselves as left-leaning party outsiders, calling themselves Justice Democrats. At the behest of that phone call, the group began making phone calls to activists in the district searching for another opposition candidate to run in the primary — with the intention of siphoning enough votes to prevent Egriu from ousting Higgins.
Higgins is a longtime favorite of the Erie County Conservative Party, whose past opposition to abortion measures and marriage equality still irk many in the party hierarchy. Despite a decidedly conservative posture early in his tenure (before the district was redistricted 8 years ago), Higgins has held on to the heavily Democratic district in a rust belt city with a large minority community.
Many political operatives liken Higgins to his political mentor Rep. Joe Crowley, the Democrat of Queens who was ousted from office by the energetic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes last November. They note that Egriu is considerably more progressive than Higgins on the issues, and worry that the developer and housing activist could upset the old guard here as well.
In a video to Cameron on social media, Martin lambasted several party operatives who actively orchestrate social media flashmobs to attack critics and political opponents.
“What has Eddie Egriu ever done to deserve this?” Martin asked. “He has a right to run just as much as anybody else. Eddie Egriu is employing more Black men today than all of you ever have, combined,” she adds.
Cameron rose to local notoriety late last year when she was thought to be sabotaging the congressional candidacy of Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray.