NY-26 One Day After Lee

11 Feb

First and foremost, I’d like to urge anyone with the last name “Konst”, and anyone pushing a “Konst” for any elected office in Western New York to lose my number, my email address, and my Twitter handle. I am absolutely appalled by the aggressive trial ballooning of Kathy Konst, who abandoned a pretty safe Democratic seat to go work for Chris Collins, setting up an almost impossible election campaign for Diane Terranova, thus paving the way for antidemocratic tea partier Dino Fudoli to win. (Konst left the legislative race too late for her name to be removed from the ballot, and litigation was required to do so. It was a colossal middle finger to the Democratic Party). The notion that Konst, who is working for an authoritarian Republican administration, might be authorized by the Democratic chairs of the counties touching NY-26 is beyond laughable. Erie County has the second-largest weighted vote in the process, and Lenihan wouldn’t advance Konst – even under duress – any sooner than he’d advance Ray Walter. She was just embroiled in a mini-scandal just a couple of short months ago, for God’s sake.

Within minutes of yesterday’s Lee resignation, Konst loyalists were relentlessly pushing the notion that DCCC had already identified Konst as a front-runner for the NY-26 race, and that the chairs of the rural counties were either already behind a Konst candidacy, or were actively pushing for it. In my discussions throughout the day, I discovered that none of this was true. I’m sure they contacted DCCC, but there’s no chance D-trip would go against the wishes of the party chairs. When I tried to put a lid on what was starting to be ignorant speculation by out-of-town media regarding Konst, I was met with aggressive good-cop, bad-cop pushback. (I had one Konst loyalist calling to try to reason with me while another threatened me with a defamation lawsuit – SIMULTANEOUSLY). All done! Good bye! Please don’t ever contact me again! Have a nice day!

So, let’s turn from the race for the Republican seat in Cuckooland to NY-26.

The jockeying yesterday was intense – a Congressional seat is a big get for any political person, for any political faction.

The Reynolds faction was pushing State Senator George Maziarz. However, Maziarz was just recently appointed President pro Tem, which comes with some choice lulus (including a $30k stipend). In addition, Senate President Skelos wasn’t all too happy about losing a member of his caucus when the majority is only 2 seats deep. By the end of the day, a Maziarz candidacy seemed rather unlikely indeed.

The Collins faction was promoting Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, who is a relative newcomer to politics, having used her Talking Phone Book fortune to replace a disgraced Mike Cole. She’s been in the Assembly minority, is a solid Republican, is uncontroversial and well-liked, and is self-funded. It’s a win all around. Even the people who suggestively grunted Paladino’s name for this seat were met with their leader backing Corwin.

There had been talk of Collins running, but he is focused on re-election as County Executive, and frankly he wouldn’t work well as just one freshman member of Congress. His ego is too big, and his elbows are too sharp.

Unalloyed lunatic Jack Davis’ name popped up with the added information that he had recently switched party affiliation to the Republican Party. He has been doing a humorless Willy Wonka act out in Akron since losing the Democratic primary to Jon Powers in 2008. You know the millionaire save-jobs drill, but I can’t imagine the county chairs would authorize Jack Davis over a perfectly reasonable Jane Corwin. Non-starter.

On the Democratic side, apart from the Konst circus I outline above, the stars were beginning to align for County Clerk Kathy Hochul. Sources say she was very interested and was working the phones, looking for pledges of financial and logistical backing.  Mark Poloncarz has also been mentioned, and is still exploring the possibility. Hochul has a good ground operation, a great reputation among Democrats and Republicans alike, money in the bank, President Obama appointed her husband as Assistant US Attorney, her Democratic bona fides are unimpeachable, and she has the ability to raise money. It’s a win all around.

Other names that popped up included Jon Powers, who was very popular in 2008 with the Netroots, and whose candidacy was deliberately torpedoed by a vicious and unscrupulous Jack Davis campaign. The problem is that Powers has lived in DC, promoting veterans’ issues since leaving the area (a bit late in some people’s opinions) in an effort to hand Alice Kryzan his minor party line. Kryzan herself has expressed interest, but she’s 0:2 in regional political campaigns and doesn’t have anywhere close to the base of support that Hochul does. A Working Families Party officer named Sam Williams expressed interest, but let’s be honest – this is a R+6 district, and you can already hear the shouts of “ACORN!!!1!”.

Buffalo-area native and Obama Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was mentioned, but he indicated that it was “unlikely” that he’d enter the race.

But in the end, the Democratic bench for this seat is rather slim. Cuomo has yet to call a special election, but the sooner the parties get their candidates in line, the better.

As for Chris Lee? All evidence of his existence has been scrubbed from his local offices, and he’s hiding out with his extended family in Florida, not taking calls. The Craigslist story has let open the floodgates about old stories, confirmed and rumored, about Lee’s past womanizing. Nobody was ever able to pin them down, but chances are that this wasn’t the first time Lee trolled Craigslist for dates, and that his sudden nationwide notoriety might jog other women’s memories in the greater DC area.

Lee has left his family in tatters, his constituents unrepresented and unserved, and damaged his own reputation. That’s pretty stark, but not irreparable. America loves comebacks and second chances, so long as the wrongdoer expresses the right amount of contrition and does his penance. Don’t count Chris Lee out in the future.

15 Responses to “NY-26 One Day After Lee”

  1. Leo Wilson February 11, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Yall should hope that the seat isn’t left vacant the way Eric Massa’s was. There were special election rumors then, too.

  2. Charles February 11, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    One can only hope its Corwin and that in a few short years shirtless pics of her will make the net! : )

    I know that’s bad, but……… LOL!

  3. BuffaloGirl February 11, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Who ever gets in there will likely be redistricted out though, then where would they go? Is it really a good move for someone looking for a longer time in?

    • Christopher Smith February 11, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      I would presume that much of the background negotiating for any Democrat considering NY-26 includes discussion with Rep. Slaughter about her plans in 2012. If Louise is willing to retire if a Democrat holds 26 and 27, then the redistricting is not an issue. If Louise is not interested in retirement and will defend the seat in 2012 in whatever form it takes after redistricting, sensible, career-minded Democrats will stay home in this special election.

  4. crabapple clyde February 11, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    It’s the first I heard of the Konst “trial baloon”. Both she and her scumbag husband truly have no shame. But the way I see it,money buys this one and it will be Corwin and that’s really sad.

  5. Jeff February 11, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Certainly there are lots of different scenarios, but districts to protect incumbent Dems in 26, 27 and 28 could easily be drawn. Slaughter’s district would go back to its old form being completely Monroe based, and the 26th would look like LaFalce’s old district plus the Erie and Genesee portions of the present 26th.

  6. Jeff February 11, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    After some quick work on Dave’s redistricting app that would make the districts
    26th Obama 54%
    27th Obama 54%
    28th Obama 59%

  7. DJ February 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    My choice would be Antoine.

  8. Ray Walter February 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Alan – For the record, I think that Chairman Lenihan would be much more likely to nominate me than Kathy Konst.

  9. RaChaCha February 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Jeff, don’t forget that Louise Slaughter’s district was once held by Barber Conable (R-Alexander), and included a big chunk (or all?) of Genesee County. After Louise won the seat (from the pompous Fred Eckert), those portions were given away to Republican reps in redistricting.

  10. Brian February 13, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    Lemme reflect on my 67 years of experience.  The winner WILL BE someone rich who will represent the interests of the rich in congress.

    Folks, the fix is in.  Elections DO NOT MATTER!!  (attribution to Matt Taibbi)


  1. NY-26: A look at the Democratic field - Online Political Blog - February 11, 2011

    […] Three names have emerged as the possible Democratic nominee in the special election to replace Chris Lee in the NY-26. They are Erie County (Buffalo and some of its suburbs) Clerk Kathy Hochul, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, and Iraq war veteran Jon Powers. Any talk about Kathy Konst as the nominee is wishful thinking on the part of her supporters, and should not be taken seriously. […]

  2. NY-26: A look at the Democratic field….It’s a GOP district folks….. - Politicaldog101.Com - February 12, 2011

    […] Three names have emerged as the possible Democratic nominee in the special election to replace Chris Lee in the NY-26. They are Erie County (Buffalo and some of its suburbs) Clerk Kathy Hochul, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, and Iraq war veteran Jon Powers. Any talk about Kathy Konst as the nominee is wishful thinking on the part of her supporters, andshould not be taken seriously. […]

  3. Items from Around the Web 02/13/2011 (a.m.) | GLOW Democrats - February 12, 2011

    […] NY-26 One Day After Lee « WNYMedia.net […]

  4. Items from Around the Web 02/12/2011 (p.m.) | GLOW Democrats - February 12, 2011

    […] NY-26 One Day After Lee « WNYMedia.net […]

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