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Negativity High Between Republicans In Mid-Island SI Council Primary

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As elections go down to the wire, the campaigns often get nastier, and if you want an example, look no further than the primary race between the two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Staten Island's Mid-Island City Council district. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

The campaign signs that color the streets of Staten Island's 50th City Council district don't really tell the story of the primary race between Lisa Giovinazzo and Steve Matteo.

Rather, voters say, the sparring Republicans have taken their issues with each other to the post office in the form of campaign mailings that have been clogging mailboxes in the district for weeks.

"Most of them are really back-stabbing the other opponent as opposed to really telling us what they're going to do," said one person.

In one, Giovinazzo, a lawyer and former NY1 employee, targets Matteo, the chief of staff for current mid-island councilman James Oddo, by making a side-by side comparison of her qualifications and his.

She points out that he's failed the bar exam three times, and accuses him of running on his boss' success.

Matteo claims that Giovinazzo doesn't understand city government, and points out that she doesn't live in the district she'd like to represent and can't even vote for herself next Tuesday.

"They should be both thrown out," said one person. "What they should be doing is, they should worry about people in Staten Island."

Matteo has won the backing of the conservative and independence parties, which means even if he loses the Republican primary, he'll still be on the ballot come Election Day. Analysts say that scenario is good news for the Democrats.

John Mancuso faces Mendy Mirocznik in the Democratic primary, and a three-way race could allow the Democrats to finally win a seat that's been held by Republicans since it was created more than 20 years ago.

Matteo's camp seems to agree, sending a letter to island Republicans that warns that the GOP could lose the long-held seat if Giovinazzo wins the party primary.

"It's so negative, and because candidate Matteo may run hard on a third-party line, it doesn't bode well for the Republicans, and it makes the Democrats quite happy," said Richard Flanagan of the College of Staten Island.

With the clock ticking toward the primary, Flanagan said the war of words between Giovinazzo and Matteo is likely to only get worse.

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