Gary Berntsen, the former CIA station chief in Afghanistan who unsucessfully sought the GOP nomination for Senate last year, is coming out big-time for Iraq War veteran David Bellavia's bid for an independent line in the upcoming 26th Congressional District special election.
In fact, Berntsen has appealed to fellow veterans in the most military of terms.
"If you were serving beside me in Afghanistan, this would be an order," Berntsen said in a letter to party activists.
And he fires a blast at Republican leaders who are backing Assemblywoman Jane L. Corwin of Clarence, accusing them of abandoning Bellavia the same way they spurned his Senate bid.
"The same Erie County Republican leaders who killed my 2010 candidacy for the United States Senate have conspired to push David, perhaps the most decorated combat veteran of his generation, out of the campaign for Congress in New York's 26th Congressional District," Berntsen wrote. "They killed David's chances to earn the Republican nomination through an insidious whisper campaign, just like they tried to do to me last year."
Bellavia has also been critical of Republican leadership for failing to give adequate consideration to his candidacy. As a result, he has affiliated with the Conservative Party and is attempting to form his own party line by collecting 3,500 signatures on designating petitions over the next few days.
Berntsen also wrote:
"You see, while his opponent was hosting glamorous house parties, David was fighting house-to-house against an enemy lying in wait to ambush Americans.
"While his opponent was showing up for work in a comfortable job at a family company, David was leading a platoon of men who were fighting and dying for our nation.
"While his opponent was inheriting millions, David was kicking down doors, taking heavy fire and fighting in brutal hand-to-hand combat in squalid bombed out houses booby-trapped to blow his men into a million pieces."
--Robert J. McCarthy