Watertown Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham opened his mayoral campaign today by taking swipes at his challenger, Jeffrey M. Smith.
"Some judgments made by my opponent should give reason for pause," Mr. Graham said in prepared remarks.
Not all of those accusations appeared to be grounded in fact.
Mr. Graham said that Mr. Smith "tried to hatch a plan to close the library" a decade ago. He cited Councilwoman Roxanne Burns' efforts at turning that effort back.
But, according to Times archives, that accusation is based on something that Ms. Burns overheard and that Mr. Smith immediately rejected — not exactly a smoking gun, if you ask me.
From a May 13, 2000 Times article: "Mrs. Burns said that she felt a majority of the council does not take the library seriously, and that she had overheard Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith make comments about closing it. Mr. Smith denied the charge, but said he had concerns about how funding for the library is structured."
Mr. Smith called the accusation, and the mayor, "desperate."
"That is not true, and in fact, I would say, why don't you look at my actions regarding the library?" Mr. Smith said. "This is just a person that is desperate and is making stuff up."
The election is Nov. 8.
Mr. Graham also faulted Mr. Smith for receiving the endorsement of a union group in Gouverneur, and for being introduced there by a Democratic party chairman.
Democratic insiders, meanwhile, have accused Mr. Graham of hypocrisy on this score. He often posts pictures of endorsements from Republicans, like Matthew A. Doheny, on his blog. Mr. Doheny introduced Mr. Graham at a campaign event in April.
Mr. Graham drew a distinction between being introduced by a candidate for office and being introduced by a party chairman.