WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown's race for mayor is heating up with one candidate's reference to a beauty pageant and his apparent target firing back.
"Oh yeah. I'm focused on the issues. I'm not going to get down and dirty," said Watertown mayoral candidate Cody Horbacz.
That's in response to this statement made by his opponent, Jeff Smith: "You know, with all due respect, this is not a beauty contest."
The comment was made during an interview with WTNY Radio. Smith was referring to candidate Allison Crossman and her participation in a number of pageants, which he says she marks as experience for the mayor seat.
Thursday at a "meet the candidates" event, Smith said it was never meant to be about gender.
"I don't think gender is a part of this campaign. It isn't part of my campaign. I'm pointing out that you're using this as your experience that has nothing to do with experience in government, or running the city, or city operations," he said.
Crossman says she did not see it that way.
"I will not tolerate sexism. I will not tolerate people speaking out against women because we are over half of the population. We are strong. We are independent. We are fearless and we should be representing our great city," she said.
However, Smith says Crossman isn't innocent on the gender issue.
"She has continuously called me a part of the good old boys network," he said.
Crossman is a political newcomer and says the city needs change. Smith has decades of experience that he says will do the city well.
Horbacz is a current city council member.