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Konst controversy: dirty politics or fair game?

  There may be no more hotly contested turf in New York State this year than the three Senate
contests in Erie County, and the latest controversy regarding Democratic Senate candidate Kathy Konst of Lancaster underscores the point.

   Konst today finds herself the brunt of a GOP attack claiming she voted twice (in Florida and in Erie County) in the election of 1998 -- a federal offense and a felony. But while she cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired, the charge is now expected to loom as a major aspect of a hotly contested election against Republican incumbent Dale M. Volker.

   Can't you just envision the TV commercials?

   Konst vehemently denies the charges, even claiming that the documents supporting the GOP claims were fabricated. And her husband, attorney Harry N. Konst, blames it all on Volker and the Republican attempt to retain the State Senate -- the last GOP bastion in Albany.

   It has not been a good week for Konst. On Tuesday a State Supreme Court justice denied her bid to insert herself onto a newly-created minor party line for the November ballot, a crucial setback. That too, was the result of an all-out Republican effort.

   She claims all of this proves the "extremes" to which the opposition will go to preserve Volker's long hold on the Senate seat.

   Is this an example of dirty politics? Or is it just how the game is played?


  -- Robert J. McCarthy

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