Andrew WhitmanApr 19, 2018, 7:45 pmApr 20, 2018, 9:29 am

New York Special Election candidates’ views on gun laws

Republican Julie Killian under fire for donor’s social media comments towards Parkland shooting survivors

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RYE — There are just five days left until New York’s Special Election race in Westchester for the 37th District between Democrat Shelley Mayer and Republican Julie Killian. The outcome could determine which party controls the New York Senate. And the national gun debate appears to be moving center stage.

Killian and Mayer have some differing positions on guns and gun safety laws, but it's not their policy views making headlines. Instead, it's a fund-raiser and donor to Killian that is causing the headaches.

That fund-raiser, Denise Ward, was singled out for her online comments in which she attacked two of the best-known survivors and advocates of the Parkland High School massacre, David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez. In a tweet that mentioned Hogg, Ward said:

"Every time that idiotic Hogg person speaks I am compelled to do the opposite of whatever he's advocating, because it's so clear that he's nothing more than a tool & a drone."

Ward also re-tweeted a photo of Gonzalez that was put forth by conspiracy theorists that claims she and her classmates bullied the Parkland shooter for three years.

And on Wednesday night, David Hogg himself jumped in. Hogg tweeted a quote from Ward and added:

"Hey Julie Killian so who's your opponent? Do they support saving lives because I do"

Killian replied:

"David, those were the vile words of a contributor, which I immediately denounced. Throughout the entire campaign, I've spoken about how brave I think all of you are and how proud I am of what the students have done to bring attention to this important issue.”

"He attributed a tweet to me that someone else had said, so we just wanted to correct that,” Killian says.

However, Killian's opponent, Shelley Mayer says the Ward incident goes a lot deeper than just a few tweets:

“She was in a demonstration outside my campaign office. She's obviously a close confidant and Julie Killian was on her radio show, and she and her husband both have posted really offensive things,” Mayer says.

Killian has said she would return any money that Ward had given or raised. On Thursday, FiOS1 News asked Killian for proof.

Killian’s campaign showed images of voided checks from Ward and others who had attended Ward’s fundraiser. When asked if they were images of checks being returned from Denise Ward and the money she raised at her fundraiser, Killian responded, “yes, that is what it is.”

Killian, has tried to portray herself as a moderate on gun policy, a point she made in the debate FiOS1 News hosted on Tuesday.

“I believe in common sense gun control. I believe we need universal background checks. We need to ban bump stocks. We need to raise the age to 21,” Killian said at the debate.

When asked why would pro-gun groups and individuals like Denise Ward support her candidacy, Killian responded, “Almost everyone I speak to would like common sense gun laws, and those include NRA members, include people that aren't NRA members, own guns.”

Shelley Mayer sees a bit differently.

"Up till now in this campaign, I’d never seen evidence of Julie Killian being a leader on behalf of issues about guns, and this is something that can't be newfound,” Mayer says.

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