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Logo Furor Lightens Up NY Campaign

August 29, 1998

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Leaders of a new political party say they simply want to slam conservative ideas to the mat. But some friends of ``Gorgeous George″ Pataki are looking to throw the upstarts out of the ring.

If nothing else, a controversy over the logo of the new Working Families Party has injected some humor into this year’s campaign season in New York.

The party’s symbol features a block ``W″ with an ``F″ attached, and bears a striking resemblance to the logo of the World Wrestling Federation.

New York Republicans, the party of Gov. Pataki, alerted the WWF’s parent company, Titan Sports Inc., of Stamford, Conn., to the similarity. The company sent a cease-and-desist order to the Working Families Party, Titan Sports lawyer Leanne Lawler said.

Lawyers for the new party appear ready to rumble. ``They can’t monopolize the alphabet,″ said one attorney, Jack Carroll.

Working Families Party leaders said they think their logo is legal and claim the Republican action shows the GOP is nervous about the potential power of the political newcomer.

``It’s not legitimate, it’s humorous, but we’re thinking about challenging Hulk Hogan for the right to use the logo,″ said Sal Albanese, one of the new party’s co-chairmen and a former Democratic member of the New York City Council.

``The Republican party, obviously, which is the party of the very rich, does not want an entity that’s going to represent working people,″ Albanese said Friday.

Third parties can be influential in New York state elections, giving major party candidates another line on the ballot and more appeal to certain segments of the electorate. In its first electoral effort, the Working Family Party, which was started by labor union leaders, has endorsed only Democrats.

Lee Daghlian, a spokesman for New York’s state Board of Elections, said that if a court orders a change must be made, the party has until Sept. 28, when the board certifies the November election ballot, to redo their logo.

Edward Lurie, director of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, said he alerted WWF to the similarity. Sometimes chuckling, Lurie said some people might believe the WWF was endorsing candidates.

``I think that’s an unfair advantage,″ he said.

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