David McKay Wilson | Rockland/Westchester Journal News | Oct. 20, 2022

…The issue of race exploded in the campaign last weekend after voters throughout the 17th received a mailing from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Washington, D.C., super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the U.S. House.

The mailing, which lambasted Maloney for supporting bail reform, includes pictures of four Black males who were apparently released without bail after they were charged with crimes that did not require posting money or property to stay out of jail, pending adjudication.

On Oct. 15, NAACP Regional Director Wilbur Aldridge, along with Rockland County Legislator Toney Earl and Peekskill Mayor Vivienne McKenzie issued a statement, calling it a “disgusting racist mailer” and called on Lawler to condemn it.

Moderator Steve Lieberman, a Journal News reporter, asked the candidates if they condemned the political ad.

Maloney did so, saying the mailer perpetuated the racist stereotype that Black Americans are criminals….

“[NAACP Regional Director Wilbur] Aldridge certainly knows me and he has my number and if he felt so strongly about this, he could have picked up the phone and called me, as opposed to putting out a political statement in coordination with Sean Patrick Maloney’s campaign,” Lawler said.

When contacted after the forum, Aldridge denied reaching out to Maloney after he saw the mailing, which featured a Black man wielding a hatchet, another being led about by police, and a third young Black man in a hoodie.

“I have been fighting racism for almost 60 years, so I don’t need a political candidate to tell me what is racist in nature,” Aldridge said. “He also said I should or could have called him. Why? He should have called me. I didn’t offend him. I believe Mr. Lawler was attempting to reverse the issue. He still has not said the flyer was inappropriate….”

“I support good policing, but not treating rich and poor people differently, and not using racism to scare people, to win an election,” Maloney said. “We can have safe streets and a fair system.”