Misogyny Charges Dog Candidate Cuthbertson


by Maureen Daly

Democratic Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, a candidate for Suffolk county legislature, was blasted this week in public meetings and letters by current and former Huntington officials outraged by his degrading and sexist campaign tactics against his Republican opponent, Stephanie Bontempi.

Cuthbertson sent out repeated attack mail pieces altering Bontempi's features, by deepening lines and wrinkles in her face, inserting ugly gaps in her teeth, bugging out her eyes, and exaggerating her chin - all to make her look less attractive.

He then all but called her a "dumb blonde" by accusing her of being clueless and dependent upon her husband, Robert Bontempi, a business executive who formerly served as Chair of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.

Stephanie Bontempi and her husband live in Centerport, with their daughter. Bontempi holds two Master's degrees, speaks multiple languages, and works as a teacher at the private Greenvale School in Oyster Bay.

"Falsifying Ms. Bontempi's facial features and inferring financial dependency on her husband in over 7 campaign mailers are personal attacks that serve no legitimate campaign purpose and only add to the public’s contempt." stated former Town Clerk Joann Raia in an open letter to the community.

Cuthbertson also made false allegations accusing the Town's Planning Board of corruptly coercing developers to contribute to Bontempi's campaign.

Robert Bontempi, a new member of the Planning Board, confronted Cuthbertson at Tuesday's Board meeting, demanding an apology to the entire Planning Board for attacking their integrity.

"The votes of the Planning Board this year were nearly all unanimous," noted Robert Bontempi. "You, Mark Cuthbertson, owe an apology to the entire Board for impugning everyone's integrity, and to the Board staff by trying to discredit all of them for the work they do."

The media reaction against Cuthbertson was equally harsh.

"When is it acceptable to to use half truths and innuendo against the spouse of a candidate?" stated Jim Kelly, Publisher of the weekly Long Islander. "I am wondering how [Cuthbertson] would feel if they began to go after his wife in a very public forum."

Bontempi and Cuthbertson are competing in the north shore 18th district, that includes Northport, Centerport, Huntington Bay, Lloyd Harbor, Huntington village, and Cold Spring Harbor.