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Schneiderman Fender Bender Puts Candidate In The Spotlight

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Controversy continues to swirl around state Attorney General candidate Eric Schneiderman, a day after he admitted to being a passenger in a car that left the scene of a small accident on Monday night without reporting the incident.

In a campaign that has not gained considerable media attention, Schneiderman's fender bender gave him a decidedly undesirable spotlight.

As NY1 has reported, the state senator was leaving an interview at the station’s studios in Chelsea Monday evening, when a car driven by a Schneiderman staff member struck a minivan owned by a NY1 employee.

An eyewitness saw the car pull off, and reported the incident to the employee, who contacted Schneiderman.

Rachel Kagan, the niece of another person in the spotlight, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, was behind the wheel of the car.

Schneiderman said he did not realize there was any damage resulting from the collision until much later in the night.

Appearing Tuesday night on NY1 political program “Inside City Hall,” Schneiderman apologized and promised to pay for all damages, although he did say he felt the event had been blown out of proportion.

With two months left before the primary, the five Democratic candidates are jostling for position.

At the Bronx County Democratic dinner Wednesday night, two of his opponents weighed in.

"They are allegations, but they are significant ones and real ones but until you get answers it's not fair to anybody to run to conclusions," said Democratic candidate for State Attorney General Richard Brodsky.

"I think there is a difference of opinion about some of the facts. I'd like to see more about what the facts actually are," Democratic candidate for State Attorney General Sean Coffey.

Nassau County District Attorney and state attorney general hopeful Kathleen Rice released a statement Tuesday, saying that while she was waiting to reserve judgment, "These are clearly very disturbing allegations."

Earlier in the day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declined to comment on the specific incident, but urged New Yorkers involved in a similar situation to contact authorities.

"I don't know what the facts are, but if you're in a vehicle and you bump into somebody, you should stop,” said the mayor. “You try to find the owner of the vehicle, if you can't you leave a note under the windshield, call me I bumped into your car. If somebody is hurt, you obviously call 911 right away."

Meanwhile, veteran political consultant George Arzt says he doesn't think Schneiderman will suffer greatly from the apparent setback.

"I think for Eric it is, no pun intended, a bump in the road," Arzt said.

State Senator Ruben Diaz Senior, a known Schneiderman critic, is calling for a senate investigation into the collision, even going as far as to say he should drop out of the race.

"This is a very serious offense by a candidate for attorney general. If he gets there, he is going to prosecute me for lesser things," Diaz Senior said.

A Democratic Senate spokesman said that there will be no investigation of Schneiderman and that officials are satisfied with his explanation about the incident.

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