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Democratic Public Advocate Runoff Candidates Hit Home Stretch

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Tuesday is runoff day in the race for public advocate, with City Councilwoman Letitia James facing state Senator Daniel Squadron, and the two candidates were out for some last-minute campaigning Monday. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

After attacks about integrity, tax returns, family money and rental income, the candidates for public advocate have entered the final lap of their campaign.

Last week, a Daily News Editorial blasted Letitia James for failing to donate her City Council stipend to charity. Over the weekend, voters were targeted by an anonymous robocall on behalf of Daniel Squadron.

"This is Katie. I just want to make sure that you saw Friday's Daily News. They said, and I quote, 'Public advocate candidate Letitia James has some explaining to do.' It looks like she lied about making contributions to charity. That's dishonest. Letitia James has lost my trust and lost my vote. I'll talk to you later," the robocall said.

"Just attacking me personally, sending out robocalls, anonymous robocalls, and leafleting the city of New York with literature without any attribution," James said.

"I haven't heard it. I did see that article. I haven't heard this," Squadron said. "I'm really focused today on talking about my plan for this office to make it more effective for those folks who really need the public advocate's office."

Squadron was in Chinatown Monday for a rally with community leaders. He blamed the negative attacks on James.

"Look, I think it's a real shame that my opponent went negative out of the box," he said. "I'm proud that I've been endorsed from the three daily newspapers, by the broad diverse coalition I talked about."

After an appearance at a senior center in Brooklyn, James received the endorsement of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, but she continued to talk about negative campaigning, as she threw some mud of her own against Squadron.

"He also hid his own taxes by hiding key sections of his tax return, and not disclosing the fact that he has a trust fund and the fact that he made money off Bernie Madoff's victims," James said.

There is actually no precedent for a runoff in just the public advocate race. The closest equivalent would probably be 1993, when there was a runoff just for the comptroller's race. In 2009, both the public advocate and comptroller's races had primary runoffs.

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