by Leah Waldron
This week in New York, a campaign attack mailer is circulating with a not-so-nuanced message about incumbent Senator Mark Grisanti, one of only four Republicans who helped pass the state’s gay marriage law last year (the ad posits that he earned money for his vote, but does not back up that claim). Grisanti is up against fellow Republican Kevin Stocker in the 60th District primary this week, but the attack ad didn’t come from Stocker. The mailer was created, presumably, by an ex-2009 Republican mayoral candidate named Matthew Ricchiazzi (this is a rumor, but one I will set out to prove).
So why would Ricchiazzi, an assumed opponent of gay marriage, use an image of two gay men having sex to prove that a New York Senator is crooked? One answer: Ricchiazzi’s a sore loser (a second answer: he’s crazy). But here’s where the story gets even more interesting: Matthew Ricchiazzi is openly bisexual.
In his 2009 resignation letter to the city of Buffalo (he capitalized the “C” in “city” by the way…this will come up later), Ricchiazzi ended with the following paragraph:
Let’s be honest–a 23 year old, openly bisexual, half-Indian, registered Republican running for Mayor of Buffalo was a long shot. But you’ve made me believe that it’s just within our grasp. Truly, we have here a City of extraordinary neighbors, and I hope that our paths cross in the future many times. Until then, don’t inhale stale air of orthodoxy.
“Don’t inhale the stale air of orthodoxy?” Was I right about him sounding a little crazy?
As of this publication date, Ricchiazzi has not taken credit for the gay porn attack mailer, but “The Committee to Save the Erie County Republican Party,” a group that has been associated with Ricchiazzi, has. According to BuzzFeed, at least two local writers on Twitter have linked Ricchiazzi to the organization, and have even called it his “one-man band.”
I don’t live in Buffalo, and I don’t follow Erie County politics, but if Ricchiazzi didn’t write this mailer, he certainly had a hand in the editing process. Notice the capitalization of the “S” in “son” at the end of the mailer (below). The word “son” is never capitalized, and neither is “city,” which Ricchiazzi capitalized not once, but six times in his resignation letter. Also, when Ricchiazzi mentions his “future plans” in the resignation letter, it’s eerily similar to both a half-time locker room speech and something a comic book villain would say:
This campaign was a rejection of the smallness of our ambition and the pettiness that has plagued our politics for far too long. It was about people who refused to believe that our decline is inevitable, and who understand that we need leaders who know where we’re going and how to get us there. It was a campaign full of people who don’t have the heart to watch the City that we love die because of managerial incompetence and a leadership deficit; people who didn’t have the stomach to sit on the sidelines and to let that happen…Within the month, I’ll begin approaching local community and civic leaders who are equally as unsatisfied with the status quo as I am, and who find mediocrity simply unacceptable…I’ll do everything that I can to help them get elected.
Wow. First of all, who knew Buffalo was THAT amazing? And secondly, I think Ricchiazzi certainly kept his “everything that I can do” promise. If Ricchiazzi was responsible for that gay porn attack mailer, it falls on the people of the 60th District to figure out why a bisexual would be anti-gay marriage, and why he would accuse a fellow Party member of corruption without proof. And an even more important question: if he plans on running for office again, why he would risk his future candidacy in the great city of Buffalo? (I hear it’s a really amazing town!)
Aside from the gay porn mailer being, literally, a photo from a gay porn website (Corbin Fisher.com, to be exact), the idea of a bisexual politician using two half-naked gay men to prove an anti-gay marriage point is bordering on really, really unstable. The mailer is not only insulting to Republicans and Buffalonians, but to bisexuals.
Let’s hope that the half-naked guys sue Ricchiazzi’s pants off.