Rus Thompson Draws Formerly-Friendly Fire

8 Jun

Ordinarily, you’d expect me to further cheer the daily deepening of the rift between the two competing local tea party factions.

On the one hand, you have conservative Republican wing represented by Carl Paladino and Rus Thompson. Tea New York is registering voters, getting petitions signed, recruiting candidates, supporting and promoting them, and working to a certain degree with the local Republican party apparatus to facilitate all of the above.

On the other, you have a strange amalgam of Jim Ostrowski’s glibertarian cult and Allen Coniglio, a person of such unintentional hilarity that quite literally no one takes him seriously. Their so-called “tea party coalition” finds its home here, at Ostrowski’s own book-plugging site, and on Coniglio’s listserv. They haven’t had much luck recruiting candidates, or keeping them once they do, they have done poor promotion and desperate support, and refuse to cooperate with those in a position to assist them.

The Thompson/Paladino wing is winning. The Ostrowski/Coniglio wing isn’t.

I like Rus Thompson even though I don’t always agree with him. He is a guy who is involved politically for the right reasons. He has been active on the tolls issue, on pushing for reforms and better government for years.

The whole thing blew up in a very dirty and politically vicious way this past week. One of Ostrowski’s clients is an online publisher, and it became quite evident over the weekend that Ostrowski, or someone who is part of his faction, fed that website a great deal of hateful things about Rus Thompson, calling him a “political whore”. It seems that Jim Ostrowski’s personal Higgins opponent, Jill Rowland, was convinced to run instead against Louise Slaughter, leaving Len Roberto to battle Higgins in his annual failed campaign.

Ostrowski’s group held a candidate’s night event a few nights ago and among the people it endorsed is Matthew Ricchiazzi for state senate. It appears that Ostrowski’s “coalition” consists of five old guys. You may recall Ricchiazzi ran for mayor of the city of Buffalo last year for a brief time, gaining little traction but attracting some attention, particularly online.

Monday morning, Ricchiazzi blasted off an email to just about every local media email address he could harvest – even the kid who covers the online-bargain beat for the Channel 2 morning infotainment hour got an email. In it, (see it here in its entirety), Ricchiazzi pleases his new political ally – Ostrowski – by blasting Erie County Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy for, among other things, endorsing “Democrat Rus Thompson”. (Ricchiazzi’s website is here).

Say what now? Rus is a lot of stuff, but to make him out to be some kind of liberal democrat is patently nuts, assuming that the reader is a complete moron. Thompson switched his party enrollment in 2009, expecting to run a primary against Antoine Thompson this year. With Carl Paladino’s entry in the governor’s race, Thompson opted instead to help that effort. Ricchiazzi strikes:

…Langworthy is left impotent, powerless, and unable to deliver.

Such was the case last week, when he failed to garner any significant level of support outside of Erie County for his endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, at the state’s GOP nominating convention. Sources tell me that Langworthy pushed hard to nominate Democrat Rus Thompson in the 60th senate district (as a favor to Carl) at a hastily convened meeting of the Republican Party Committee last Saturday morning, on May 29th. He was flatly denied, (no fault of Rus’s) and was unable to garner a majority to nominate.

Really, Nicholas? You’re going to pull an Ed-Cox and try to give the Republican line to a Democrat? Wasn’t it you telling us that Chairman Cox shouldn’t endorse a Democrat?

Rus Thompson isn’t Steve Levy. Steve Levy was brought it by Ed Cox to help Cox’s son in the NY-1 congressional race. Rus was doing what Lenny Roberto (currently running against Brian Higgins) said people ought to do – run in primaries, rather than general elections. After all, most WNY electoral districts are gerrymandered to the point where general elections are seldom relevant – it all comes down to what happens on primary day.

I contacted Nick Langworthy, and he sent along this statement in response to Ricchiazzi’s rant:

I am simply focused on electing Republicans. I had reached out to Matthew by email after meeting him at a Paladino fundraiser last month. I asked him if he would like to have formal discussions regarding his candidacy. He declined my invitation.

So, it would seem that while the local Democrats are self-destructing into three warring factions, the Republicans have their own three factions. So in actuality we have what amounts to no fewer than six distinct political parties locally, so that’s fun. But ultimately, when a self-important media slut-cum-political prince takes to the nomenklatura’s muckraking site to impugn the integrity of a Rus Thompson, I think that’s beyond shameful and despicable.

13 Responses to “Rus Thompson Draws Formerly-Friendly Fire”

  1. Paws at 8:10 am #

    The ironic thing is that last year when Richiazzi was claiming there was a conspiracy against him running as the Republican candidate for Mayor, he was registered as a Democrat.

  2. Derek J. Punaro at 8:37 am #

    I didn’t even realize Ricchiazzi was still around. In the mayoral race he seemed a bit premature, but garbage like this destroys his credibility completely. Don’t try and debate another candidate on the issues, just try and tear them down.

    So instead of Ricchiazzi using his youthful ambition to be a voice for real change to the political future of this area, he’s joining up with a nutbaggery-filled fringe. I think his quixotic races prove he’s got a lot of growing up to do.

    • Christopher Smith at 12:24 am #

      I’ve taken to calling him Eddie Egriu, Jr.

  3. samroberts at 8:50 am #

    Maybe will Jim O will decide that George Holt is once again fit for office and back him.

  4. Tracy Diina at 9:01 am #

    I will always love Jim O…does that make me a glibertarian?

  5. Peter A Reese at 12:04 pm #

    Seems to me that years of Ostrowski trashing by Rus Thompson has made him some sort of tea party hero to Alan Bedenko. In view of all the heavy lifting Ostrowski has done gratis for Thompson, this is an interesting window into his character. BTW, don’t bet that Thompson won’t still run as a Democrat.

    • Alan Bedenko at 12:24 pm #

      So what if Rus runs as a Democrat? Matt Ricchiazzi was until recently a Democrat, according to one source (I haven’t looked into it yet). In any event, I wonder whether anyone ever got an accounting of what happened to the money Jim collected at the March 2009 tea party rally to ostensibly print some sort of primer or something.

      • Rus Thompson at 1:53 pm #

        Rumor has it, some Democrats are carrying a petition with my name on it. I was just told this morning that was happening even tho I have said NO to everyone. Go figure.

        Now the Republicans have endorsed Mark Grisanti. That was just news sent to me too. He ran against Thompson, A that is 2 years ago as a Democrat. He has changed to Republican to run this year. Go figure, the opposite of what I was going to do.

        There are people out there determined to get me into this race kicking and screaming. I really have no time for this.

      • Mike at 4:22 pm #

        Rus is one of the most qualified people to take on Thompson. It would be fun to watch the two Thompsons in a debate and it would be newsworthy to hear the two go at it head to head over the next several months. Antione could tell us how We the people love increased taxes on our phones, computers and other electronic devices…brilliant simply brilliant!

  6. Jul at 2:18 pm #

    What are you talking about Peter? Rus has gotten into a few disagreements with Jim over the years, but he’s never trashed Jim Ostrowski. I wish we could say the same for Jim about Rus. Rus has done nothing but supported Jim, giving him opportunities to speak, promoting all his events, book signings, etc. But lately, all Jim can do is imagine the worst of Rus, accusing him of things he is not even capable of, and citing anonymous sources while refusing to believe his friends and fellow reformers. As his friend Peter, maybe YOU can find out who that man is, and what he’s done with our friend Jim.

  7. Jul at 2:27 pm #

    I forgot to mention that Jim walked some petitions for Rus in his neighborhood once, but that may be the extent of Jim’s “heavy lifting” for Rus. But I don’t want to be remiss in my gratitude, so please cite examples. Examples of trashing would be helpful too.

  8. ted at 10:02 pm #

    It really doesn’t matter if Rus runs as a democrat, republican or crazy coo-coo bird (although that slot should be reserved for Richiazzi), they are going to loose big time. Antoine represents the people in his district perfectly, has assembled quite a warchest and has been handing out millions in member items and appropriations

    Click to access STATE%20OF%20THE%2060th%20DISTRICT78.pdf

    Its going to take more than a joke like Rus or Ricciazzi to overcome this. Are there any serious candiates out there?

    And say what you want about him, Antoine is a very diligent campaigner. His environmental creds are excellent. We could do much worse (like Rus or Riccciazzi)

    Someone should call Antoine’s Mom and tell her he really needs a well aimed dope slap, doh.


  1. Conglio: I’m Holding Back! | -

    […] Like I said, Coniglio is the most unintentionally hilarious, deliberately ignorant local Obama-hating teabagger in town.  Good luck with that “coalition”, Jim.  Oh, and here’s a an actors’ recreation of Coniglio and Ostrowski at a donut shop: […]

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