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Hudson Valley

Dutchess County comptroller stirs controversy after alleged "racist tweet"

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Albany/HV: Dutchess County comptroller stirs controversy after alleged "racist tweet"
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A Dutchess County legislator who’s running for a state Senate seat this year is in the hot seat after an article published Tuesday alleged he tweeted a racist comment toward an MSNBC anchor. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Michael Howard has that story.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - It’s a comment that has many talking, after a New York Daily News article published Tuesday details what many are calling a racist tweet that Dutchess County Comptroller Jim Coughlan sent toward MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry.

“This type of race bating out in a political campaign is disgusting and I think it undermines everything were trying to talk about in the real world with issues and concerns,” said Coughlan.

The tweet Coughlan sent was in response to Harris-Perry’s beliefs on children and the community.

“I retweeted a very famous line from planet of the apes because I see government as this ever growing 800 pound gorilla in the room,” said Coughlan.

But this isn’t the first time Coughlan has been in the spotlight.

In April the Huffington Post published an article about his personal twitter, saying he retweeted offensive messages about African-Americans, lesbians and minimum wage earners.

He has since frozen his personal account.

“I don’t follow MSNBC,” said Coughlan. “Nor did I know anything about it. It wasn’t only until this whole thing kind of outraged and that’s a massive smear campaign the Albany insiders don’t want a person like me up there.”

“There are derogatory comments, of a personal kind, being attributed to an elected official in Dutchess County who the Republican Committee has endorsed in the past for public office. We do not condone or agree with these disgusting comments and find them highly offensive to our core as Republicans," said the chairman of the Dutchess County Republican Committee Mike McCormack, in a statement.

Coughlan says the outcry is politically motivated.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, the fact that other people are trying to apply this in a race bating way, I feel bad that both of us are caught up in this and there’s a lot of pressure to make it into something that it’s not and I would like to have a real conversation with her,” said Coughlan. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP