How Hochul Won #NY26

25 May

Today, the local spin masters are out in force, explaining how Kathy Hochul, Democrat, was able to beat Republibot5000 Jane Corwin for a Congressional seat once held by Jack Kemp and Tom Reynolds.

Republicans believe the reason that Corwin lost is clear; Jack Davis. Corwin and her surrogates assert that Davis appealed to independent and conservative voters in the district…in other words, a vote for Davis, would’ve been a vote for Corwin. When asked for comment on this assertion, Jack Davis replied with the following:

However, the numbers do not back up the Republican position. As the support for Jack Davis eroded in the last two weeks of the race from 23% in a Siena Poll to 9% in the election booth, the majority of those votes broke for Kathy Hochul. Using the final poll numbers, if Davis had not been in the race, Corwin would’ve needed to receive 76% of Davis’s votes to overcome Hochul’s margin of victory. That does not fit with the overall trend of the race.

Last night, several Republicans argued that if the race had been Hochul/Corwin, the results would have resembled the 2006 Davis/Reynolds election. Hochul received roughly the same percentage of the vote as Davis did in 2006 and Corwin would’ve received the same support as Reynolds did. Firstly, if the queen had balls, she’d be the king.  Secondly, Hochul was a much better candidate with an energized base and a competent field operation, two things Davis never had. For instance, in 2006, Reynolds beat Davis in Livingston County by a margin of 60-40. In 2011, it was a dead heat. Hochul picked away at the margins in the fringes of the district while shoring up her base in Erie County.  Thirdly, Medicare.

Which brings us to the national spin from the Democrats, that this election was a referendum on the Paul Ryan budget which would’ve turned Medicare into an episode of “Extreme Couponing” whilst giving massive tax breaks to people like Jane Corwin. Unsurprisingly, the voters in the rural areas of the district and the working middle class families of Erie and Monroe counties thought this was a pretty shitty proposal.

So, was Hochul’s win due to the Medicare issue? Yes and no. I haven’t seen any objective exit polling data to support that position, but it’s clear through anecdotal voter information and pre-election polling that it was a major factor.

Most importantly, this came down to campaign organization, messaging and field operations…as it always does.  The message is important, but the candidate who runs the tightest combined effort campaign ALWAYS wins.

Kathy Hochul took her time to assemble her campaign team, raise the necessary money, build support amongst the county chairpeople, reach out to important constituencies and gather grassroots support. She defined herself early in the race, stayed centered, never got rattled and ran a field operation with textbook precision.

Jane Corwin was rushed through the process because she could “self fund” and left a lot of the fundamental campaign organization to “her people”. Essentially, she outsourced her campaign “like a business”. She let tinpot Machiavellians like Nick Langworthy and Chris Grant run her operation into the ground. Their failures resulted in over $2MM of NRCC/Astroturf national republican money being spent on a race that should have been a cakewalk for the Republibot5000 candidate. Corwin should have stepped in and asserted leadership over her team, especially after “Operation: PunchOut” with Jack Davis, but she’s not that kind of politician.  And now she’s on her way back to oblivion as a minority member of the State Assembly, doomed to a life of ribbon cuttings and press conferences with the likes of Jim Hayes.

So, what’s next? A continued battle for the soul of the Republican Party in Erie County between Joel Giambra and Chris Collins. Leading to an exquisitely fun battle between Mark Poloncarz and Chris Collins for the office of Erie County Executive.  Collins’ braintrust, which fell on their face last night, are trying to sell Chris on the fact that they did a fine job and Jane would’ve won too, if it weren’t for that meddling Old Man Davis!

I’m sure Poloncarz is ready to prove them wrong…

16 Responses to “How Hochul Won #NY26”

  1. joy luck club May 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    I don’t believe that was Kemp’s district.
    It was Paxon and Conable’s
    Quinn and then Higgins got Kemp’s

    You have lucky face

  2. Christopher Smith May 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Much of the district was part of NY-31 when Kemp was last in office. Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston, Erie. So, NY-26 as currently constituted was not Kemp’s seat, but it was his territory.

  3. Mike In WNY May 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Most importantly, this came down to campaign organization, messaging and field operations…as it always does.

    I agree with that with the caveat that Hochul’s message had no meat. She came across as someone’s mother, or grandmother, placated the seniors with her Mediscare comments, but she offered no real substance. In the end, the sheep bought it.

  4. Mike In WNY May 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Also, the 2, out of 7, counties she carried are the 2 with the largest entitlement class. That is not a coincidence.

  5. mike May 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Jane Corwin lost because she was a mediocre candidate who was chosen by a lousy process. The notion that Davis’ 9% cost Corwin the victory is an illustration of hatred and stupidity.

  6. Brian Castner May 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I think you are on the right track, as I argued with Alan and Eric via socialmedia. I think “Medicare” is the cable news answer to the election. The local, and truer answer, is that the popular candidate with the better campaign beat the aloof millionaire who tried to replace the disgraced millionaire . . . both chosen by the same aloof marginally popular millionaire county executive. Is this the last gasp of the Collins campaign model, or will it be Collins’ loss in November? That race suddenly seems a lot closer.

    • Alan Bedenko May 26, 2011 at 6:11 am #

      Corwin’s piss-poor, lazy, entitled campaign didn’t help. But that’s process. On the issues, Medicare was front & center, and it was very important in this largely middle-class, aging district. And it wasn’t just that Hochul completely pwn3d Corwin on Ryancare – it was that Corwin was handled like such a porcelain figurine that she wasn’t really able to effectively defend her support for it. She started walking it back, by which time it was too late.

      If cable news is saying Medicare did Corwin in, it’s an incomplete answer, but it’s wholly accurate.

  7. BuffaloFailing May 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Jack Davis’ only campaign issue has always been about protectionism. That generally is not a stance favored by free-marketers who want medicare and social security axed. In spite of the Tea Party endorsement, I have my doubts about Davis taking votes away from Corwin. Corwin was a weak candidate, but you would have to be deliberately obtuse to dismiss the impact of the medicare issue when that became the sole talking point in every campaign ad the past two weeks. Follow the polls, it showed Corwin well ahead until she expressed support for the now toxic “Ryan bill.” She also repeated a lot of the same trickle down nonsense that personal income tax cuts for the uber-wealthy will lead to more job creation. I think fewer people are drinking that kool-aid than they were just a year ago, even in this district.

  8. Thomas May 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    What about the legendary Reynolds Field Op? Crissake, he nearly lost to someone actually on the Dem line named Jack Davis. Everyone favored the Repugs in GOTV not even considering that Dems never even wasted their time there.

    I doubt the dems will simply forfeit seats in NYS ever again

  9. buffaloobsrver May 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    Kathy Hochul simply outworked and out hustled millionaire Jane Corwin. Kathy was everywhere and never took anything for granted. While she worked her ass off,Corwin seemd to wait for the election to be served on a silver platter like a steak at the ChopHouse.. Hochul was warm,folksy.and down to earth while Corwin played the ice woman,cold and calculating. Both Corwin and her handlers let their ego and arrogance get in the way and they paid the price.

  10. JudahMaccabbee May 26, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    It also helped that someone was push polling for Hochul always asking about the other candidates by saying “Millionaire” first. Because as we all know no one who is financially well off has any redeeming qualities — especially around here.

    I was robocalled and polled to death (mostly by Corwin)– each with their own attempt to insult my intellect with mudslinging. My kid asked me about the election and I said, “Well one wants to kill babies with taxpayers’ money and make it more expensive to shop at Wal-Mart (Davis), one wants to kill old people and keep poor people poor (Corwin), and one gives fellatio to unions and Nancy Pelosi (Hochul).

    This is exactly why I got out of doing Party stuff. It’s a joke. It’s not about ideas, but rather it’s about destroying opponents. The Erie County GOP is a joke. Hochul deserved to win, because she did the best job painting her opponents as tools of Satan. And she did the best job of not exposing her weaknesses unlike her crazy or mentally deficient opponents.

    We deserve what we get. It will be interesting to see how redistricting goes. If I were Hochul I’d rather run against Slaughter who has plenty of nutjob soundbites than run against camera-whore Higgins who doesn’t have too many skeletons and who has done a nice job playing the “moderate” card.

  11. Bbill May 26, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Because as we all know no one who is financially well off has any redeeming qualities — especially around here.

    L. Frank Baum called. He wants his straw man back.

  12. BuffaloFailing May 26, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    “Because as we all know no one who is financially well off has any redeeming qualities — especially around here.”

    Is this supposed to be a joke? Collins won the executive seat precisely BECAUSE he was a millionaire who would run government “like a business.” This region offered overwhelming support for Paladino, solely because he was a rich guy, which was really the only “redeeming quality” he has.

  13. JudahMaccabbee May 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Then why did the push polls repeatedly say, “Millionaire Jane Corwin” and “Millionaire Jack Davis”? If you’re trying to tell me that they weren’t trying to elicit a negative response, you’re nuts. And when Collins ran his opponent made his wealth his #1 attacking point as well.

    It reminds me of the old joke NYT headline, “World to End Tomorrow: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit”

  14. outsidelookingin May 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Ahhhh……modern day Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy…. Langworthy sitting on Chris Grant’s lap….Langworthy was Grant’s puppet wasn’t he? Or was he the lapdog?

    Maybe Comix Cafe will hire them.


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

    […] How Hochul Won #NY26 « […]

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