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Mehiel Thinks Voters Will Be Understanding

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Dennis Mehiel says he thinks voters will be understanding after he went public about an incident in his personal life. Mehiel has admitted to fathering two children with two women while he was still married to his first wife.

During a visit to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, Mehiel said today's voters are sophisticated. He says they know what is relevant and not relevant.

Veteran independent pollster Lee Miringoff says that may be true. He said that stems in part from the fact that in the wake of the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, many voters feel politicians' personal lives should remain personal.

But Miringoff did say that Mehiel's lack of name recognition could mean the revelations about his personal life will have more of an impact.

"He's largely unknown, so this becomes fact number two about what people know about him," Miringoff explained. "(The first fact is that) he's running with Carl McCall. (The second) is that this is the kind of thing that's been going on. So, there's not a reservoir of public opinion to bolster him."

But Mehiel is receiving support, surprisingly from the religious right. The Reverend Duane Motley, head of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom, says the fact Mehiel is actively involved in raising both children and supporting them financially will blunt any negative fallout.

Mehiel is running with Democratic gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall in next month's primary. A McCall spokesman says there is no talk of Mehiel leaving the race.