Corwin aide stirs up controversy in NY special election

A top aide to New York Republican Jane Corwin has become an issue in the special election race for former Rep. Chris Lee's seat.

Michael Mallia, Corwin's chief of staff in the state Assembly, has been identified as the man behind the tracking video of Independent candidate Jack Davis.

In the 15-second clip released by Republicans, he's heard shrieking as Davis flaps at the camera after getting asked why he withdrew from the candidate debates.

The Davis camp on Sunday accused Mallia of yelling "coward" at the House candidate during a rally in Wyoming County.

Curtis Ellis, Davis's campaign manager, called on Corwin's campaign to release the tracking video Mallia was shooting at the time.

"The Corwin campaign is refusing to release the tape because it will show her own chief of staff insulting a veteran and every man and women who has served our country in uniform," Ellis said in a statement.

Davis is a former Marine Corps and Coast Guard reservist.

A spokesman for Corwin didn't deny the incident took place. 

"Jane is humbled by the 20 military veterans currently serving in Congress that recently endorsed her," Matthew Harakal, a spokesman for Corwin, said in an email to The Ballot Box.

The Buffalo News took note that conservatives in the 26th district aren't pleased with Mallia's behavior, which could reflect badly on his boss.

"A legislative professional, the boss of Jane Corwin’s Assembly office, and he’s hassling a man 50 years older than he is in a parking lot at the fire hall,” Bob Lonsberry, a popular conservative radio host in Rochester, wrote on his blog. “It was an ambush, a setup, and an insight into just how black and depraved the Republican heart is."

Corwin and Davis face Democrat Kathy Hochul in the May 24 vote.