So here’s an early contender for jerk of the year – a guy blatantly pushing out false Twitter notices of various catastrophes during last night’s Hurricane Sandy storm in New York City.

During the storm last night, user @comfortablysmug was the source of a load of frightening but false information about conditions in New York City that spread wildly on Twitter and onto news broadcasts before Con Ed, the MTA, and Wall Street sources had to take time out of the crisis situation to refute them.

@comfortably smug wrote that ConEd shut down all power in Manhattan, that Governor Cuomo became trapped in the city, that subways would be shut down for the rest of the week, and so on. So who is this guy?

Based on photos he censored and posted to the account but I found unedited elsewhere, @comfortablysmug is Shashank Tripathi, a hedge fund analyst and the campaign manager of Christopher R. Wight, this year’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th Congressional District.

FEC documents show Wight has paid Tripathi thousands of dollars this election cycle as a “consultant.” @comfortablysmug has been a vocal supporter of Mitt Romney and posted tweets suggesting he attended this year’s Republican convention. He’s listed here by a local Republican group coordinating volunteers for a Romney phone bank. He’s 29 years old.

The moral of this story is not that all Republican operatives are assholes, though I would entertain an “all operatives are assholes” categorial imperative. But if the “hedge fund analyst and Republican campaign manager” shoe fits, I think Shashank Tripathi can wear it. I mean, the bio does scream “entitled.”