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Don’t Count Him Out

Is an upstate accountant the state GOP’s last hope?

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With things looking a bit grim for the New York Republicans this November, the scandal involving incumbent Democratic comptroller Alan Hevesi, who let a state employee drive around his wife, has turbocharged challenger Chris Callaghan’s campaign.

What does the comptroller do?
He is the state’s accountant. He is the chief auditor for the state. He approves contracts, runs the payroll. This is the dull stuff. The sexy part is that he is the sole trustee of a $140 billion pension fund.

What’s your policy for pensions?
We should change to a defined-contribution fund. Then each employee owns his own pension fund, and he can invest it as he will. We say we’re going to give you 5 percent of your salary and put it in this pot, and you invest it, or you hire people to invest it, and then when you retire, it is what it is.

Give us your best stump-speech line.
“When Alan Hevesi has said ‘I love New York,’ he meant it in the same sense that Anna Nicole Smith did when she said ‘I love you’ to Howard Marshall.”

How do you feel about the scandal’s helping your candidacy?
I don’t take any particular satisfaction from this. What Hevesi has done is an embarrassment for the State of New York and for politicians everywhere. Obviously it’s helped my campaign, and so I feel good about that.

You must feel lucky.
I don’t need luck. I need your vote.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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