Congresswoman-Elect Kathy Hochul (#NY26) [UPDATED]

25 May

(UPDATE:  Tom Donahue, Shelly Schratz, and Corey Griswold had me on WECK 1230-AM this morning to talk about the race. Sorry I spoke over people – I couldn’t hear their audio very well.)

I didn’t think the day would ever come that the 26th Congressional District would be represented by a Democrat. For that we have a list of people to thank.

Let’s thank Chris Lee, for his brazen tranny hunting on Craigslist.
Let’s thank Paul Ryan, for his plan to privatize and voucherize the exquisitely popular Medicare program. It’s an axiom in domestic politics that seniors vote. Fortunately, future seniors also vote.
Let’s thank Nick Langworthy for pushing Jane Corwin through the Republican candidate selection committee, shunning the guy he promised it to in 2008, David Bellavia.
Let’s thank David Bellavia for having courage and principles and not being just another party follower.
Let’s thank Nick Langworthy again for so eagerly releasing that tape of Michael L. Mallia harassing Jack Davis.
Let’s thank Chris Grant for being the mastermind behind the awesome that was the Corwin campaign.
Let’s thank Chris Collins for convincing the Corwins to bring their life of leisure to a halt and enter politics.
Let’s thank Michael Mallia for being such a great actor. Republican Fonzie, like your namesake you jumped the campaign shark.
Let’s thank Channel 2 for catching Mallia and Emily Hunter, the second cameraperson, on tape.
Let’s thank Michael Caputo for his relentless hectoring of Langworthy and Grant.
Let’s thank Jane Corwin for doubling down on the Ryan budget and then being so shallow in her platform that she misrepresented what it was.
Let’s thank Corwin’s handlers for taking what is, by all accounts, a very bright, knowledgable, and capable woman, and presenting her in this race as an empty bucket of Fox talking points.
Let’s thank all the outside groups that came in to “help” Corwin, serving only to drive up her negatives.
Let’s thank Jack Davis for hiring Jim Ostrowski and David DiPietro, who now need a new excuse for their electoral failure.
Let’s thank Kathy Hochul for being a great campaigner and a likeable, capable political figure.
Let’s thank the Democratic county chairs in NY-26 for taking their time to vet and select a candidate for this race.
Let’s thank all the volunteers who made calls, dropped lit, and canvassed relentlessly over the past several weeks, singing Kathy’s praises.
Let’s thank Kathy’s campaign apparatus, which acted professionally and handled a very tough race very, very well.
Let’s thank the voters who took the time to do so, regardless of whom they voted for.

I’m operating on too little sleep to put up a more thorough analysis than that right now, but suffice it to say the spin from the Republicans is going to be that this race is an anomaly, that it wasn’t a referendum on the Ryan budget, that special elections are one-shots, and that Davis was the big problem.

That’s not true.

At least as far as Medicare and the Ryan budget are concerned, this was a referendum on them, at least in this district. This race was a trial balloon for what’s going to be done and said to Republican House members who voted for that bill. This race matters for this region and this district, but Republicans are going to have a tough time running from this Ryan budget. Medicare is popular, and it matters. In the end, Davis didn’t have much of an affect. He pulled in 9% of the vote, and it’s silly to think that all of those voters would have gone to Corwin had Davis not been in the race. Murphy got 1%. No, Corwin didn’t run on Ryan’s Medicare disaster, but she embraced it until Hochul started doing real damage with it. Then, Corwin lied about it and even brought in Betsy McCaughey to help deflect.

So, this race matters and you can expect every race against a Republican who supported the Ryan plan to sound a lot like NY-26 in May 2011.

Congratulations, Kathy, for taking the district that was hand-carved by Tom Reynolds and Karl Rove in 2002 – drawn to enable Reynolds to consolidate his power and vote like any Southern Republican. To call this astonishing is an understatement.

31 Responses to “Congresswoman-Elect Kathy Hochul (#NY26) [UPDATED]”

  1. Mr. F.N. Magoo at 7:01 am #

    Anybody who questions that the Ryan Bill wasn’t the deciding factor in this race is ignoring the obvious. Had the Corwin campaign still been an entertaining clown-car clusterfuck and if kindly old Mr. Davis still had inquired if a certain petulant youngster wanted punched out, without the Mediscare, there wouldn’t have been the surge that encouraged the people and money that pushed Kathy Hochul to victory. The Erie county numbers weren’t a staggering surprise but for Kathy to poll so closely in Monroe county and the wilderness counties showed that Corwin HUGELY miscalculated by supporting the Ryan Bill. When Harry Reid forces a vote in the Senate, the GOP defections will undo much of the vaunted tea party power and fragment the House and Senate leadership that Republicans must have to hold their 2010 gains, forget about increasing them. With an uninspiring presidential primary slate, the GOP may devolve into ‘every man for his own seat’ for the next few years, leaving the Republican nominee out on an island.

  2. Mr. F.N. Magoo at 7:49 am #

    **’WAS the deciding factor’**

  3. Thomas at 8:16 am #

    Lets also thank WNYMedia and it’s merry band of twitterati along with the parody twitters and blog posters/commentators everywhere. The Pro Hochul/Anti Corwin message was pounded everywhere you looked. Without the out of state Tea Party/Pac contingencies there may have been no social media support for the Corwin campaign

  4. Charles at 8:30 am #

    OK…now that that is all over, how is the County Clerk seat filled?  Leg or Exec?  Or in Erie County, does it really matter with he majority coalition? 

    • Alan Bedenko at 8:42 am #

      The County Clerk seat is a Cuomo appointment. Gabryszak is rumored to be the frontrunner.

      also, thanks everyone for your kind words.

  5. Greg at 8:41 am #

    Thanks to you, Alan and WNYmedia team. You guys definitely helped. It feels pretty great to have a D representing me! No more platitude-spewing millionaires! 🙂

  6. Ward at 9:00 am #

    Alan has convinced me that this race is a portent for similar races in 2012, after all.

    Find a Congressional district with no incumbent, in which the field consists of one Democrat, one Republican, and one wealthy, abortion-rights, economic protectionist, former Republican, former Democrat, soi-disant “tea partier”, who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006 and 2008-spending a total of $5.2 million of his own money-and spends another $1.7 million on that 2012 race.

    When you find such a race next year, please feel free to apply the “lessons learned” from this race to that one.

  7. Chris Charvella at 9:12 am #

    Oh look, it’s Ward. I’m sure he came prepared to share proof that Jane Corwin won the election last night and we’re all just crazy.

  8. Rob at 9:18 am #

    Yeah don’t fret Ward – Rep. Jane Corwin now joins West Va. Sen. John Raese in the Congress in your head.

  9. Rob at 9:23 am #

    Along with Senators Angle of Nevada and Fiorina of California (I remember Ward predicting last October that Reid and Boxer would lose, though I can’t find the links.) Quite the prognosticator.

  10. Bbill at 9:29 am #

    Ward, is that you in the yellow tie directly behind your candidate?

  11. Chris Charvella at 9:46 am #

    You mean the guy crying Republican crocodile tears?

  12. Bbill at 9:48 am #

    Nobody, NOBODY pouts like Republicans pout!

  13. buffaloobserver at 10:03 am #

    Nice acceptance speech by Kathy. No gloating or showboating. Classy,just like the way her campaign was run. I was intrigued by the onstage presence of Byron Brown. Could this be an extended olive branch that results in a cooperative effort to boost Mark Poloncarz? Just wondering.

  14. Fat Tony at 10:04 am #

    Terrible for WNY in that we are best served when we have GOP and Dems in our local delegation. I knew Corwin was toast when the polling place was filled with people using walkers. Kathy Hochul is to be congratulated for running a great campaign. She deserved to win. This might be a GOP district but not Spaulding Lake, we’re smarter than all of you, country Club noveau riche Republicans. Collins best take heed of the quality of his brain trust.

    As for the future, once Hochul takes the votes she has to take that out way out of step with this district, she’ll be toast next time like the other Dems that won NY specials or this district will disappear. Maybe she’ll be a Blue Dog, but I highly doubt it.

  15. Adam at 10:05 am #

    A big thank you to WNYMedia, as well as Sen. Gillibrand and the Working Families Party staff and volunteers for putting their boots on the ground.

  16. Mr. F.N. Magoo at 10:06 am #

    @Bbill: No, that couldn’t be Ward. He was busy typesetting “Dewey Wins” at the Buffalo News.

  17. Rob at 10:14 am #

    Oh and Davis – 9%??? I wonder who spent more of their own money per vote – Corwin or Davis.

  18. Jesse at 10:16 am #

    Blaming Ryan’s budget plan for the loss, or crediting it for the win, really underestimates the absolute debacle of a campaign Corwin (and her handlers, really) ran.

    How pathetic is it that everyone says “OMG Can’t Touch Medicare!” when it’s plainly obvious to anyone with half a brain or a calculator that the status quo cannot remain.  Dreamy wishes about taking out fraud are just that: wishful thinking.

    The system must be changed.  The Democrats and most Republicans favor kicking the can down the road and would rather wait until we are completely broke and looking at a financial abyss before dealing with it.  Because OMG someone might demagogue it.  Oh noes!  It’s gutless.

    I really don’t believe this result actually portends anything on a national scale, but the Obama crew has to be dreaming it will.  The facts are the budget is still a COMPLETE mess and that’s all on Obama and his buddies now, not the R’s.

    When will we see a real plan to balance any budget, Democrats?  Give me a real budget and a real plan to cut down our abhorrent military spending and I’ll be on-board 100%.  I’m not holding my breath.

    On the other hand, Hochul absolutely earned the win.  Her ads were respectful and calm (of course, the national Dem ads were god-awful but that is to be expected).  Her personal appearances were professional.  Her campaign didn’t shoot itself in the foot with grade school mistakes.  In short, she was classy and her opponent was not.  Good on her.  Don’t underestimate the power of acting with class with regards to mature folks.

    Too bad the entire WNY block in Congress is going to get tossed in the air and mangled thanks to population loss.  I’m sure keeping Medicare exactly the way it is right now will help in that regard.

  19. Mike In WNY at 10:28 am #

    Why did Hochul win? Let me count the reasons.

    1. Mediscare and emotionally charged rhetoric that doesn’t address a huge problem.
    2. She had the better demeanor.
    3. Corwin imploded.
    4. The dynamics of the race were changed by an independent candidate.
    5. The wait time in Erie County DMV offices has vastly improved under Hochul.
    6. The turnout in a special election is less than in a full election.

    All of this translated into a win in 2 0f 7 counties for Hochul.

  20. Mr. F.N. Magoo at 10:29 am #

    Its unfathomable that people still try to ignore that without Corwin’s support of the Ryan Bill, we’d have her as Congresswoman today. Yeah, she ran a crappy campaign and Hochul ran a good one but that wouldn’t have been nearly enough to overcome the difference in registration without the Medicare backlash. Jack Davis’ presence in the race without the Medicare issue wouldn’t have split Republicans off of Corwin, tea-party masquerade or not. If they want to pretend it wasn’t the issue that turned the campaign, I hope they keep telling each other that all the way through 2012.

  21. Fat Tony at 11:16 am #

    @ Magoo You’re fight about Ryan to a degree in a special election when old folks were incorrectly scared to death and undoubtedly voted in larger numbers than other demographic groups. My neighbors with kids intended to vote but took a family bike ride instead on a nice night after work. My wife was going to head over and got distracted with a few things at home and never made. They weren’t motivated to vote and certainly Corwin did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to motivate average Republicans to go to the polls. Heck, her overuse of robo-calls probably cost her votes.

  22. Mr. F.N. Magoo at 11:51 am #

    @Tony: I don’t think it was just ‘old folks’ who were justifiably concerned about Medicare money being funneled through private insurance agencies. I’m 50 and the cut-off scares the shit out of my wife and me. And my kids are also concerned that her and I will face the same fate 10-15 years from now that they are facing in their young adulthood as they struggle to find jobs with decent health insurance. One kid already has a $13,000 debt right out of law school for one emergency room visit and an overnight stay for observation so he’s got a pretty good idea of how expensive it is to have crappy health insurance. My kids are well aware of how fast health insurance costs rise year-to-year and aren’t at all conned by the GOP promises of vouchers or ‘premium support’. While they have years to plan and save, my wife and I don’t have the same window of opportunity to provide for hugely more expensive health insurance premiums than we’d planned for. So while we’re in agreement that Medicare was a motivating factor in Corwin’s loss, I don’t subscribe to your dismissal of ‘old folks’ being ‘incorrectly’ concerned. I’ve read the bill and seen the analysis of health insurance increases; I’m fucked if it passed.

  23. pirate's code at 12:28 pm #

    @ bbill — “Nobody, NOBODY pouts like Republicans pout!”

    It’s one of the things we do well, bill. Years of practice here in WNY particularly. And, clearly, nobody gloats like Democrats. Winner’s prerogative, though, so congrats to Ms. Hochul and her team.

    @ magoo — I think Fat Tony’s analysis is probably spot on. The merits of the Ryan plan (or not) aside, Hochul’s team did exactly what fat tony suggested, and that was scare the crap out of seniors but offer no solid position on how to manage Medicare for everyone else going forward. “I will protect Medicare” is not a plan, it’s a bumper sticker. Clearly effective in campaign mode.

    @fat tony — Don’t know who managed Corwin’s robo call effort, but they ought to banned forever from politics. I hate those calls no matter what, but four calls in the same day — from the same person — was just piss-poor implementation.

  24. peteherr at 12:43 pm #

    Just because the Democrats don’t agree with Ryan’s voucherization of Medicare does not directly equate to leave it alone and do nothing while it goes bankrupt. There is more than one way to fix a problem. To continue the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality is counter productive and, quite frankly, silly.

    No way the Medicare/Ryan Budget had nothing to do with this. It was just part of the electoral perfect storm…… unpopular ideas, whacky 3rd partier, completely inept campaign, good Dem candidate.

  25. jimd at 12:56 pm #

    Another example of Corwin’s blind eye was her going to the Amherst senior center to assure the aged that their medicare is safe. Trouble is what do most 75 year olds have? 50 something children.

  26. Greg at 1:20 pm #

    I wish we could just vote online.

    @Ward — nice tie. Missed you, buddy.

  27. Rob at 1:54 pm #

    Here is the national debt that Republicans say is forcing them to end Medicare.

  28. Thomas at 4:58 pm #

    Thanks Rob. Was just going to post that.

  29. outsidelookingin at 4:39 pm #

    Wonder if Chris Collins will hire that big fat ugly cheater back? He was more interested in throwing football than the campaign. He figured it was a no brainer, she was gonna win, guess he should a worked harder. Oh yeah, he cost Corwin $2000000. Brilliant Grant, brilliant. You were out of your league, if anyone thought you were a brilliant strategist, it just shows what stupid people surround you. Surround yourself with stupid people, at least someone thinks you are smart. Your high level female staffers, certainly hired for reasons other than brains, were / are midget minds. Never met more haughty incompetents. You blew it. Langworthy blew it when he believed in you, and the worthless women working for you.


  1. NY 26 Special Election Links 05/26/2011 (a.m.) | GLOW Democrats -

    […] Congresswoman-Elect Kathy Hochul (#NY26) [UPDATED] « […]

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