Bellavia Bribery? Bull.

22 Mar

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

A local website is reporting that former Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo offered to convince independent conservative NY-26 candidate David Bellavia to withdraw from the race in exchange for money; it accuses Caputo of soliciting a bribe from the million-heiress’ campaign.

Caputo issued this response:

I have never solicited a bribe in my lifetime. I play no role whatsoever in the NY26 race. I do not work for David Bellavia and I made no contact with the Corwin camp at his behest. More importantly, David Bellavia would never entertain such an unconscionable idea.

David’s opponents have done some pretty rotten things to force him out of this race. They’ve lied to his face, they’ve lied to others, they’ve denigrated his valorous combat service to our nation, they’ve illegally accessed his credit report, they’ve left bribe offers on his voicemail, they’ve maligned his family, and more.

Clearly, this is just another attempt to smear David: when a candidate fuels his campaign with integrity, he becomes a popular target for those who have none.

Were Bellavia to leave the race now, having been accused of being associated with an attempted bribe, he would be under a cloud of suspicion for some time. He can’t withdraw now; his hand has been forced.

One must … be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.

By staying in the race, Bellavia clearly hurts Jane Corwin‘s chances, siphoning off more conservative voters and probably many veterans, as well.  Even detestable xenophobe Jack Davis harms Corwin’s campaign, because he’s running as a tea-party candidate to pull out the “I hate brown people” vote.  Hell, even Ian Murphy helps Hochul’s campaign because his Green Party platform and likely Beastly antics will help to moderate Hochul’s demeanor by contrast, and help position her as a centrist.

[I]t is far safer to be feared than loved

So, who benefits the most from having Bellavia stay in the race, hurting Corwin’s chances?  Who benefits the most by having Kathy Hochul win NY-26 and go off to Washington come June 2011? Who was so petrified of a Kathy Hochul candidacy that he famously (infamously?) berated the beloved county clerk within reporters’ earshot? Who has a hotline to the website that published the Bellavia bribery bullsh*t?

It all boils down to the fact that this race is eminently winnable for Hochul, and there appears to be a faction even within the Erie County Republican establishment that would very much like that to happen. It explains why the NRCC went negative on Hochul yesterday, and why Corwin went negative on Hochul today – so negative, so fast (and so clumsily)? Someone’s worried.

In 2006, 40+% of NY-26 voters held their noses and voted for Jack Davis. In 2008, 40+% of NY-26 voters voted for Alice Kryzan. If a generic Democrat can pull in 40+% of the vote in that district, a Kathy Hochul – who represents as clerk more people living in NY-26 than Jane Corwin does – can expect to do somewhat better. Hochul is well-liked, seen as someone who has made government services more streamlined, businesslike, and accessible. She is unknown in Monroe County, but that’s surmountable.  Attempts to tie Hochul to Nancy fricking Pelosi smack of such small-time, disingenuous hackery.

The root of this Bellavia bribery story has, therefore, got to be in Chris Collins’ camp, we think. He’s got the motive, the means, and the opportunity to slime Carl’s enemy, Caputo, and simultaneously lubricate Hochul’s path to Washington.

And you thought the Machiavellianism in WNY – especially from our esteemed, tax-hiking County Executive – couldn’t get any more tinpotty.

15 Responses to “Bellavia Bribery? Bull.”

  1. RaChaCha March 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Had to read this through a couple of times before I was sure I grasped the second-to-last paragraph. Sinister! The Collins camp wanting Kathy to shuffle off to Washington-alo would imply that either they think that if she doesn’t win NY26 she might still be a factor in the CE race, and/or that if she does win NY26, that having the CE and backfill clerk elections in the same year would be to their advantage. And that would imply that they have their eye on someone(s) for the backfill clerk race. Right–? (I’m rusty on my Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, although following Erie County politics is something of a refresher).

    Anyone got the screenplay rights to this one yet–?

  2. Ward March 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    But of course Ian “Fuck the troops” Murray won’t syphon off any Democrat votes–love notes from this blog’s regulars notwithstanding.

    Your conclusion that Chris Collins is behind the nefarious faux-bribery triple-cross is, er, a bit of a tinfoil-hat job.

    My advice to Mrs. Hochul at this point would be not to go house-hunting in the 26th District based solely on the analysis above.

    • Alan Bedenko March 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      No, I don’t think the Green Party candidate siphons off a tremendous number of votes from the relatively conservative Democrat in a relatively middle-of-the-road district.

  3. Greg Molma March 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Joe Illuzzi is the yeast infection on Erie County’s vagina. His “exclusive” reports, known in most quarters as “emails from Chris Grant” should not be taken seriously nor should they be considered as anything more than a milky discharge from the sucking puss wound that is Erie County Politics. What a group of horrible, awful people.

  4. Brian Buckley March 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    @greg, thanks for the good hearty laugh!!

  5. lulu March 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    #4. Best comment I have read in a long while. Nicely done!

  6. Fat Tony March 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    This is turning into a freak show which helps Corwin. A legitimate three way split like that in the North Country would give Hochul a chance. But too many candidates creating too much chaos in the special means every one tunes out and traditional party lines apply. That means a Corwin victory. Plus, Hochul as a Dem in Erie County government won’t play well in the outlying counties. Too liberal even if you want to call her a moderate.

  7. Mr. F.N.Magoo March 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Fat Tony’s got it right about the hinterlands. Our local assemblyman’s current project, in the face of New York’s budget battle, is introducing a symbolic bill to split NYC off of New York to form a 51st state. Steve Hawley is not an idiot, he just knows his demographics extremely well. Hochul has an uphill battle trying to talk reality to people who salivate to Hawley’s cynical dog-whistle concerto. But if Davis and Kryzan got 40% running slipshod campaigns, there’s hope.

  8. Starbuck March 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    The root of this Bellavia bribery story has, therefore, got to be in Chris Collins’ camp, we think. He’s got the motive, the means, and the opportunity to slime Carl’s enemy, Caputo, and simultaneously lubricate Hochul’s path to Washington.

    I’m confused.

    Is this post suggesting Collins might want Hockul to win the race for Congress in May 2011 over Corwin so that Hockul then couldn’t run against Collins for County Exec in November 2011?

    Even though (regardless of outcome vs Corwin), Hockul running for Congress in May effectively precludes her from running for County Exec later this same year?

    Or are you suggesting Collins wants Hockul out of the way for the County Exec election four years from now in 2015? (When that congressional district probably won’t even still exist after redistricting?)

    Am I misreading something in your post, or does that sound ridiculous even for a conspiracy theory?

    Or was the post just satire of Illuzzi?

    • Alan Bedenko March 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

      Chris Collins’ clearest and deepest Democratic threat is Kathy Hochul. With her out of the way – whether it be now or in the future – Collins is happy and, he believes, victorious.

      Also, the notion of Hochul challenging Collins even after a loss in May is not out-of-the-question. I understand there was much discussion about that behind the scenes.

  9. Starbuck March 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    I don’t doubt a wide range of possibilities are discussed, but it sounds weird to think she’d even try campaigning for three different offices in a 12-month interval: clerk, Congress, and CE. Now she’s popular, but after that there’s a big risk her public image would become more associated with political ambitions. Not to mention the delay until late May would look demeaning to other potential candidates for CE – Poloncarz, etc. – if they have to await the outcome of her race.

    Re 2015, it sounds backwards too. If Hockul wins a big upset this May in a heavily-R district then loses her job at the end of 2012 only due to Congressional redistricting, she’d be an even bigger threat to Collins four years from now. More so than if she loses to Corwin, I’d say.

    But I guess they might be thinking anything.

  10. Mr. F.N. Magoo March 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    @starbuck: There seems like there might be a cogent point in there somewhere but seriously, dude, have another run at it.

  11. Ward March 23, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Alan — recently you had Collins and Corwin as allies (tainting Corwin by association), did you not?
    So now Collins is throwing Corwin under the bus to get Hochul out of town?
    Wow, that Chris Collins sure must be an evil person. (Of course he is–he’s R.)

  12. Fat Tony March 23, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    I’ve heard the Dem establishment really wants Hochul to run for CE but her dream is Congress so God Bless her for trying to fulfill her own ambitions rather that give in to party bosses. I think it’s that simple. She cannot run and lose this race and then turn around and run for CE. Her negatives coming out of a tough Congressional run will simply be too high.

  13. Jackson Smiles March 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    Jack Davis will also pull the crazy vote and the I love soup vote…

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