Race to replace Nita Lowey’s congressional seat takes nasty turn

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This could be New York’s nastiest political race.

The run to succeed retiring Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) — who has served in the House since 1989 — is heading to an ugly finish after a well-funded and controversial third-party challenge from local businessman Josh Eisen.

Eisen, 48, has been accused of using the N-word, while the Jewish candidate’s lawn signs have been vandalized with “Nazi Lover.” He blames supporters of his Democratic opponent Mondaire Jones, 33, who he says coddles criminals.

Keeping with his soft-on-crime attacks, Eisen handed out pepper spray at a rally this week and has similar stunts planned until the election.

Eisen has poured more than a million dollars of his own money into the race for the 17th Congressional District, covering Rockland County and Northern Westchester. The cash puts him roughly at par with Jones and far outstrips Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman, who is 61.

In their most recent federal filings, Eisen reported a total of $748,666 cash on hand remaining, compared to $802,778 for Jones. Schulman had barely more than a thousand dollars .

The seat is considered to be a safe Democratic hold, and there has been no pubic polling since Jones locked up the Democratic primary July.

But that hasn’t stopped the dirty tricks.

Last weekend, some of Eisen’s lawn signs were defaced with red spray paint, accusing the son of Holocaust survivors of being a “Nazi Lover.”

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Josh Eisen supporters (from left), Shmuel Farkash, Eli Rayzich and Mark Mytelka with a voucher and pepper spray they received at his event in Harrison, New York.

J.C. Rice

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Josh Eisen campaign employee Darnell Condry with the pepper spray and voucher.

J.C. Rice

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Josh Eisen supporter Maciej Wolko with pepper spray.

J.C. Rice

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“The word Nazi not only struck a chord with me, but also the local Ramapo police who were investigating it before we even reached out to them,” Eisen said.

“We have reason to believe it’s young volunteers, supporters of Mondaire Jones’ campaign. I have been called a Nazi by volunteers and supporters of his campaign in the past,” Eisen said.

Jones is a former Obama Justice Department attorney and the favorite to win the seat, after winning a bitterly divided primary in July.

Team Jones flatly denied any involvement, saying their signs have also been the target of vandalism in recent days and that they too were eager for answers from cops.

“Mondaire and our campaign wholeheartedly condemn anti-Semitism and hatred in all of its forms and our campaign is committed to engaging in a respectful dialogue with all campaigns,” campaign manager Hannah Nayowith told The Post.

Mondaire Jones speaks at a Black Lives Matter rally in Irvington, New York on Oct. 11.Mondaire Jones speaks at a Black Lives Matter rally in Irvington, New York, on Oct. 11.AP

While handing vouchers for pepper spray Thursday, Eisen said he thinks “Mondaire supports positions and laws that have contributed to the rise in the demand for pepper spray and guns over the last year. He certainly supported this very misguided bail reform law and he still supports it.”

New York has strict rules on who can buy and sell pepper spray. It can only be purchased for self-defense purposes from licensed distributors or pharmacies, and buyers must be have a clean criminal background. “The opinion of me and the Harrison Police Department is that that is not a good idea,” police chief John Vasta told The Post when apprised of the event.

Eisen — a self-made multimillionaire with a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University — said he was able to get around regulations by offering the pepper spray in the form of a redeemable voucher.

Eisen originally sought the Republican nomination, something that ultimately went to Schulman, a retired firefighter. His campaign has been dogged for months by revelations that he was sanctioned by judges in New York in 2014 and 2017 for harassing family members of his legal opponents in business disputes.

Court filings from the time assert Eisen repeatedly used the N-word, made sexual comments about an opposing lawyer’s daughter and told another legal opponent’s wife that she should “bathe in the warm semen of [Josef] Mengele,” — a reference to the infamous Nazi doctor, according to an account from City and State.

“My response is that every single allegation in that article is taken out of a civil law suit and lawyers lie. Period and full stop.” Eisen told The Post.

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