New Yorkers often try to ignore political phone calls this time of year but one made in a Queens State Senate race accusing one candidate of supporting Muslim radicals is raising some eyebrows. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Joseph Concannon is a relatively unknown Republican State Senate candidate but he's created an uproar in the 11th district. Bayside residents like Andy Rothman are crying foul over a Concannon robocall that accuses incumbent State Sen. Tony Avella of supporting Muslim radicals.
"Did you know that Tony Avella went to Manhattan to support a radical Islamic preacher who supports anti-American ideologies last week?" the robocall says.
"I thought they were outrageous comments," Rothman said.
Avella called it a dirty political trick because the call was released after he was seen storming off the stage of the Muslim Day Parade two weeks ago. Avella said he left after two speakers made anti-American remarks.
"Clearly, I was fuming when I heard these anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic remarks," Avella said.
Concannon said Avella should have left sooner. His comments drew outrage from some residents, who called them offensive.
The robocall also stated that Avella worked for former Mayor David Dinkins and hung out with what it called "socialists" like Charles Barron.
Some viewed the call as having a racial undertone but Concannon said he's just trying to draw contrasts between himself and Avella.
"That's not what we're against," Concannon said. "I'm not part of the hate crowd."
As of Monday, the call was still running.