SOUTH SALEM, NY – Senator Terrence Murphy eagerly responded today to a call by one of his prospective opponents, Peter Harckham, who recently engaged in unfair campaign practices according to the nonpartisan Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee, to debate issues. Senator Murphy challenged Harckham to state his position on single payer healthcare for New York State, which is estimated to cost $226 billion in new taxes, according to a June 5 article in Crain’s Business. Senator Murphy unequivocally opposes what he calls “AlbanyCare.”

Martha Ruiz Jiménez, the spokesperson for the Committee to Elect Terrence Murphy, said “Voters are sick and tired of the lies, distortions and unfair campaign tactics utilized by candidates like Peter Harckham and Robert Kesten. When the primary is over, Senator Murphy will once again face-off against whomever his opponent or opponents may be in a series of three debates, one in each county of the Senate district, as was done in 2014 and 2016. Until then, instead of committing unfair campaign practices, Messrs. Harckham and Kesten should stick to the issues, like where they stand on a healthcare system run by Albany politicians.”

The Crain’s article pointed out that single payer healthcare, which previous accounts had pegged at a price tag of around $90 billion, would cost taxpayers $226 billion, which is 58% greater than the State’s entire $168 billion budget. While Kesten has been firm in his support of single payer healthcare, Harckham, whose website does not even feature an issues page, has been silent on this and other issues, which has many observers questioning the reasons why he is even running.

Kesten, who was also found to have engaged in unfair campaign practices on three seperate counts, told Westchester Rising this week that Harckham is Governor Cuomo’s ‘owned’ man into the Senate race. “If the governor was smart he wouldn’t have insulted Indivisible by backing and bankrolling Harckham’s campaign,” one Indivisible Westchester member told crack Westchester journalist Dan Murphy.

“If Peter Harckham is done with his unfair campaign practices and wants to talk issues, let’s talk issues,” Ruiz Jiménez said. “The Governor hasn’t endorsed AlbanyCare, but he has basically endorsed his campaign. We know where Robert Kesten stands on this issue, but where is Peter Harckham? Does he support single payer healthcare, which already failed in Vermont? Where does he plan to get $226 billion in revenue from to pay for all this?”

The Business Council of New York State pointed out that “despite the frighteningly enormous tax increases associated with the plan, there would be no guarantee that New York’s 19 million residents would be able to see the doctor or specialist of their choosing.” A recent poll conducted by Mercury Public Affairs on behalf of the Business Council, labor unions and other concerned organizations, found a majority of New Yorkers oppose the plan, and 64% of respondents expressed major concerns about having Albany politicians in charge of a government run single-payer health care system.

“Pete Harckham cannot expect to be taken seriously if he fails to explain his position on AlbanyCare and many other important issues, such as the Governor’s recent decision to pardon paroled cop-killers, rapists and pedophiles, allowing them to vote,” she concluded.