Search results for 'mallia'

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.

Vote Today, Watch Tonight #NY26

24 May


Thanks, Chris Lee, for making 2011 interesting

Let’s take a step back today and give thanks to his Craigslistness, Chris Lee, for imploding his political career so dramatically, so unexpectedly, and so quickly.  Another in a long line of moralistic Republican pervs, he paved the way for a race that is being billed by national media as a referendum on the ridiculous Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, and noted more importantly in the local media as a dry run for the Collins for our Future re-election brain trust.

And what we’ve found outeven if Corwin wins in a squeaker – is that (a) Collins’ sycophantic crew doesn’t know how to handle a credible political opponent and is horrible at “campaigning“; and (b) People young and old detest the idea of receiving a coupon from the government to go out and buy private insurance when they get older, and then being on the hook for the cost the coupon doesn’t cover. It’s a breach of the American social contract as it’s existed since the mid-60s – it takes something that you and I are right now paying for and basically takes it back. Whoever dreamt this up is a dummy. More importantly, anyone who voted for it in Congress, or pledged to vote for it if elected (Jane) is politically tone-deaf. You don’t “save” Medicare by destroying it any more than you “save” a drowning man by throwing baseballs at his sinking head.

Because Jane Corwin, who is Chris Collins without the charm and Chris Lee without the Y chromosome, should have walked away with this thing.  It never should have been close. Regardless of the outcome, she’s already lost.  She’s lost her integrity and her sheen of electoral invincibility in this red area.

A very small amount of blame goes to Jack Davis, who cleverly ran as a “Tea Party” candidate. And he most certainly has every right to don that mantle, as an angry older conservative man with extreme views. He’s got actual grassroots tea partiers supporting him, while the only tea partiers Corwin got were the ones supported by big astroturfing Republican PACs.

Corwin never should have let her Chief of Staff, Michael L. Mallia, campaign for her. She never should have gone along with the plan to harass Jack Davis. She never should have condoned her staffer yelling “coward!” at a veteran. She should have fired him. She should have addressed it and expressed her displeasure. She misplayed the Mallia flap in every possible way it could have been misplayed. Collins’ guys were literally and palpably giddy over that 15 second video of Jack Davis swatting away Mallia’s camera – they even sent it to us.  The next morning, we revealed who the cameraman was and the entire thing rebounded into Corwin’s face. (Incidentally, we’re still waiting for the whole tape, and the second tape.)


Corwin and her surrogates mounted a relentlessly vicious negative campaign against Davis and Corwin. It worked against Davis, to a degree, but backfired on Corwin. It drove up Corwin’s negatives past 50% and drove up Hochul’s positives in a huge way. Recent polls show that the Pelosi Congress is more popular here than the Boehner Congress. Corwin brought Boehner to town and hammered everyone and his brother as being a Pelosi puppet. Clumsy claims that Hochul had raised taxes were addressed rather publicly months ago, in a region where people have almost uniformly chosen to pay higher taxes rather than, e.g., lose the “Village of Sloan” or “Village of Williamsville”.

I’ll be helping Kathy Hochul and her well-oiled, professionally run campaign get their vote out today. I hope you’ll consider taking some time to do the same. Hochul is a unique public servant – she’s responsive and competent. She has taken the offices she’s held and done something positive with them.  She is a student of good government who will go to Congress and continue the good work being done for the region by Louise Slaughter and Brian Higgins. After all, she’s a South Buffalo conservative Democrat in the Higgins mold.

Tonight, turn off your TV and join us here at, where Chris Smith, Marc Odien, Chris Charvella and I will be live-blogging and offering up some audio & video interviews, chatting with you and each other about the election results. The Cover it Live screen will be on the main page, so join us starting around 8:30 or 9:00 pm tonight as we join you from the Hochul campaign party at the UAW hall in Amherst.

The Republican Rift, the PPP Poll #NY26

23 May

Is Phil Corwin Pissed?

That’s the claim being made in this blog post that was emailed to me yesterday. While the facts are a bit sloppy (e.g., the Channel 2 debate was held at 9am, not 12pm), it wouldn’t at all surprise me if the Corwins were caught unawares by the dirty trickery of the Collins brain trust, and blew their chance to prevent the Mallia fiasco from becoming a 2 week-long story.

Corwin’s Chief of Staff Mike Mallia’s weak attempt of a video ambush of Davis on the night of May 11th occurred without Corwin having any knowledge of the plan. The scheme was hatched by Chris Collin’s COS Chris Grant and endorsed by Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy. The video was then put on YouTube and hit the late news, but Corwin had gone to bed early due to the noon debate on Ch 2 the next day. Phil Corwin saw the video clip but failed to tell his wife in the morning, fearing it would distract her. Corwin was clueless when she was approached by reporters in the Ch 2 parking lot after the debate because not one staff member had bothered to tell her what had transpired.


Corwin is also coming under fire for not cutting loose Malia and separating herself from such a frat house stunt. The issue there is that Malia was just following orders and would probably go public on Chris Grant with all of the sordid details if he were to be fired.

It goes on to allege that Phil Corwin may begin publicly excoriating Collins and his minions should Jane lose on Tuesday.

The rift in the Erie County Republican Party is deepening, and while they’re putting on a very thin front of unity for now, it looks like Collins has become the Republicans’ Steve Pigeon – another tinpot Machiavelli looking to grow and consolidate power at the expense of the old guard, embodied by people like Tom Reynolds.

First Siena, Now PPP

Another poll was released last night showing Kathy Hochul with 42%, Jane Corwin with 36%, and Jack Davis with 13%.  The results of this poll very closely mirror the Siena poll released on Saturday.  Hochul is up 7%, Corwin is up 5%, and Davis is down a whopping 11%.  Also similarly to the Siena poll, Hochul’s favorability is +14 while Corwin’s is -18, down 15 points in just two weeks. Whereas Davis’ favorability/unfavorability was even at 43/43 two weeks ago, he’s now -39!

Corwin’s camp knew it would have to deal with a Tea Party line Jack Davis in this race, and assumed that if they hammered away at him for being weak Tea, those voters would break for Corwin.  But because Corwin has run a campaign that is only competent at incompetence, and because she has adopted extreme and radical positions not followed by voters in the district, those people have instead gone to Hochul in droves.  Hochul is drawing more Republican support than Corwin is drawing Democrats, and independents are relatively evenly split, with the advantage going to Hochul by +2.

PPP says that voters it surveyed think the Republican majority in Congress is doing a worse job than its predecessor.  It also found that, while NY-26 doesn’t like Obama, it dislikes John Boehner more. That’s a huge Corwin miscalculation, bringing him to town to campaign with her. Every time someone links Hochul with Pelosi, that isn’t as bad as it would be to link Corwin with Boehner.  Finally, Democrats in the district are more enthusiastic about voting for Hochul  than Republicans are about Corwin.

Probably because Hochul hasn’t been running a relentlessly negative, extreme campaign of dirty tricks. Davis would probably be doing a bit better if he had better advice and wasn’t being advised by sycophants and guys who never won a race.  The PPP results show huge dissatisfaction with Washington. Davis is making little headway on what should be – but isn’t – his big issue.

Hochul’s in the lead, but there’s no guarantee she’ll win. It all comes down to turnout and whose get out the vote effort is better.


Calamity Jane and her Lame Campaign

21 May

The idea that there is a major rift developing between the Erie County GOP and Monroe County GOP is slowly becoming a thing, and it all has to do with Erie’s feckless, negative Corwin campaign. Langworthy denies it, but once it’s being talked about, it exists.

One of the lobbyist PACs supporting Corwin (who was supposed to be the self-funded shoo-in, IIRC), released an advertisement that contains positive quotes about Corwin that purportedly come from the Tonawanda News. The problem is that the quotes come from Corwin’s own mouth, but they attempt to trick voters into thinking that the paper had somehow endorsed Corwin and her positions.  Not mincing words, the Tonawanda News entitles its editorial blasting Corwin and the conservative national Chamber of Commerce for a “Shameful Misdirection”.

Shameful. That seems to be a popular adjective to be used with “Jane Corwin campaign”.  The editorial begins:

The special election for New York’s 26th congressional seat has been downright dirty and after the most recent blatant effort to deceive voters — which comes at this newspaper’s expense — it is time to place the blame squarely where it belongs: On the shoulders of Republican candidate Jane Corwin and her increasingly desperate raft of supporters.

We have all, by now, seen the ludicrous “assault” video where a Corwin employee goads Jack Davis into a confrontation, then clearly embellishes what happened. It was a quintessential political dirty trick.

“Desperate”. “Blame”. “Deceive”. “Ludicrous”. “Embellishes”. “Dirty Trick”. All in just the first two paragraphs.

We have not endorsed Corwin — or any of the candidates, for that matter — and the chamber’s commercial is a blatant attempt to trick voters into believing we have in order to bolster her credentials.

The news story in question covered a Corwin campaign rally in North Tonawanda on April 18, which ran in the following day’s edition. None of the language used in the advertisement appeared in our story and the two issues ascribed to us — Corwin’s views on “regulations that hurt small businesses” and “job-killing tax hikes” appear only as a passing reference. We encourage readers to view the advertisement, located to the right, and read the article that was written and draw their own conclusions. We believe anyone who sees the ad and its “source” material will agree.

Newspapers are frequent sources in the campaign ads that have taken over the airwaves here in the last two weeks. The generally accepted practice is that newspapers or other media outlets are fair game to source for factual information we have reported, opinions others have expressed or opinions expressed by an editorial board.

It is not fair game to cite a newspaper as a source simply because you were quoted in it. A group as politically active as the United States Chamber of Commerce must know this.

The source that appears on the screen is clearly meant to imply that we — that is the Tonawanda News editorial board — said Jane Corwin opposes “wasteful spending.” The truth is Jane Corwin said these things in our newspaper, a vastly different circumstance.

Corwin’s positions are not the question here. She may well fight against unnecessary spending if elected. It is beside the point.

The fact that a newspaper — one at which the writers and editors work diligently to bring readers unbiased, accurate reporting and responsible opinions — is being misappropriated for a political profit is shameful.

We hope Jane Corwin joins us in recognizing the folly of her supporters at the Chamber of Commerce and in our request to stop airing this misleading advertisement.

And just like Corwin deflects and denies that she can control what her Assembly Chief of Staff, Michael L. Mallia, does when off the state clock, and on her own campaign’s, and just like Corwin claims she can’t force Mallia or Emily Hunter or Nick Langworthy to release the full Mallia tape or any of the Hunter “battery-free” tape, she can’t force her supporters at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to pull the ad. No power, no accountability, no shame.


Oh, and while Corwin is playing make-believe Congresswoman, taking credit for the hard work of a team of people, she’s skipping out on her real job in Albany.  This means that, thanks to Republicans, I don’t have congressional representation, and I have a no-show Assemblywoman, to boot.

Corwin earns $89,000 as a lawmaker; a $79,500 base salary and $9,500 for serving on legislative committees.

Um, she needs that money?

Hochul and Corwin Debate

19 May

I was unable to catch yesterday’s congressional debate which was held in Rochester (sorry, can’t embed) between Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin, but I’m listening to it as I’m typing this.

Based on the tenor of the recent ads, I can guess that Hochul went after Corwin for her support of the deficit-raising, Medicare-privatizing Ryan budget. I can guess that Corwin accused Hochul of wanting to raise everyone’s taxes to 120% and collectivize farms.

Based on some Tweets, and this post I saw about the debate, there was apparently some back and forth regarding the now-infamous Mallia tape. Corwin refused to budge or address the issue in any meaningful way, doing the same deflection about how Mallia was on his own time while harassing the old man candidate, while Hochul said that she would have fired Mallia. Period. Nice, short answer.

If you saw it, what were your thoughts about it?  Listening to it while typing this, it’s fascinating that Hochul is doing exactly what I always thought a viable Democrat in NY-26 needs to do to win: assert their independence from the national party and establish their centrist bona fides. I don’t think that the electorate in this district is necessarily as die-hard conservative as people make it out to be. I believe that they’re quite centrist but skew right, but they’re willing to vote for Democrats who are flexible, pragmatic, and middle-of-the-road. They’re willing to vote for a Democrat who has proven that they’re responsive and competent.

Frankly, I don’t understand why we can’t just plug the Medicare and Social Security funding issues by reverting income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans to where they were under the Clinton Administration in the 1990s, when the economy was doing quite well indeed. I also don’t understand why we can’t divert a lot of money and reduce, to use a popular term, “waste, fraud, and abuse” from the over-bloated defense budget to help ensure that Americans have access to necessary health care.  Our priorities need to be reviewed and revised.

Corwin seems very Washingtonian and polished. Hochul is folksy and has a distinctive speech pattern that is instantly recognizable, like Brian Higgins’.

As the debate was going on, the Hochul press operation blasted emails to reporters that rebutted Corwin points, or highlighted inconsistencies. For instance, Corwin said she would consider getting rid of subsidies to oil companies, but the Ryan budget she said she would have voted for maintains them:

In April, the world’s six largest publicly traded oil companies reported a combined $28.1 billion in first-quarter profits. Only BP’s earnings declined from the year before. The profits stemmed from a surge in the price of oil, which jumped 16% in the first quarter, rising above $100 a barrel in March. [CNN, 4/29/11]

Corwin Signed The ATR Pledge

In May, Corwin signed the Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” According to the pledge, Corwin will “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses…and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits.” [Americans for Tax Reform, 5/12/11]

Americans For Tax Reform Opposed Efforts To Eliminate $21 Billion In Subsidies For Big Oil

In May, Americans for Tax Reform opposed the Close Big Oil Tax and Loopholes Act, saying it was “nothing more than a billion dollar tax.” [Americans for Tax Reform, accessed 5/17/11]

The bill would have scaled back tax breaks for BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, and Conoco Phillips, resulting in federal tax revenues of $21 billion over ten years. [Forbes, 5/18/11]

Republican Budget Proposal Preserved Subsidies For Big Oil

When challenged by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace about whether the Republican budget included reductions in Oil and Gas subsidies, Ryan said, “we don’t have a tax problem.” [Fox News Sunday, 4/03/11]

Wall Street Journal: Budget Rejected Obama’s Call To Increase Taxes On Oil And Natural Gas Companies

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Republican budget proposal rejects Obama’s call to increase taxes on oil and natural gas companies. [Wall Street Journal, 4/16/11]

Republican Budget Cuts Funding For Alternative Energy Development

The Republican budget proposal calls for drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar and other alternative energy technologies. [New York Times, 4/06/11]

Another one, challenging Corwin’s claim to want to cut spending. When she had the chance in the Assembly, she punted:

Corwin Voted Against 4 Of 5 Appropriation Bills Included In Gov. Cuomo’s Budget

In 2011, Corwin voted against four of the five appropriation bills included in the enacted budget. The budget closed a $10 billion deficit and included a 10 percent across-the-board cut to state agencies [New York State Assembly; Reuters, 3/31/11]

Bill Corwin’s Vote Final Vote
State Operations Budget Appropriations Bill (S2800-E) N 144-3
Legislature & Judiciary Budget Appropriations Bill (S2801A) N 113-36
Debt Service Budget Appropriation Bill (A4002) N 97-48
Aid to Localities Budget Appropriations Bill (S2803E) N 137-12
Capital Projects Budget Appropriations Bill (A4004D) Y 145-2

[New York State Assembly, Accessed 3/31/11]

WGRZ Truth Test: Corwin Voted Against 4 Of The 5 Bills That Actually Included Cuts

In a truth test, WGRZ said Corwin voted against four of the five budget bills that “actually included the cuts.” [WGRZ, 4/12/11]

At least one commenter has claimed I’m “demagoguing” the Medicare abolition issue, but am I?


I know that serious people are supposed to be shocked, shocked at the Democrats calling the Ryan plan a plan to dismantle Medicare—but that’s just what it is. If you replace a system that actually pays seniors’ medical bills with an entirely different system, one that gives seniors vouchers that won’t be enough to buy adequate insurance, you’ve ended Medicare. Calling the new program “Medicare” doesn’t change that fact.

Matt Yglesias:

“Medicare” refers to a single-payer universal health insurance program instituted by the Social Security Act of 1965. If a political movement committed to having that program “wither on the vine” and die puts forward a bill to abolish that program and replace it with a system of private vouchers, then it doesn’t matter whether or not the voucher program is stillcalled Medicare. That’s what House Republicans voted to do, and there’s nothing even slightly misleading about calling this an effort to end Medicare. What’s misleading is the effort to use nomenclature to obscure the nature of the change.

I don’t know why Corwin so proudly supported the Ryan budget bill, which the House Republicans passed overwhelmingly, intending it to become law, and now backs away from what it does, and what it is. It was always known that the Ryan bill would be a non-starter in the Senate and it would never have been signed into law. So, I don’t get the political calculation that led to Republicans to vote for it, or which prompted Corwin to support it.  She’s now trying to back away from it, claiming it was only a “plan” to be “tweaked”. People are suggesting that it’s unfair or incorrect to call the Ryan plan – which raises the deficit over 10 years – what it is, but Corwin owns this.

She also owns the tactical disaster that is the Mallia tape. Not only was it a dumb stunt, but they managed to obstruct a one-day story into a 10-day-long fiasco of epic proportions.

I can’t wait to see what these genius 20-somethings will dream up for Chris Collins.

Two Campaigns, Contrasted (Where’s the Tape, Jane?)

18 May

There was a candidates’ forum held in Batavia yesterday where Kathy Hochul, Jane Corwin, and a representative from Jack Davis’ campaign answered questions about issues important to the disabled.  This wasn’t a debate, and everyone had the questions beforehand.

What was important was what happened afterwards.

As Republican million-heiress Jane Corwin rushed to her car to avoid questions from reporters about Michael Mallia, the second cameraperson, alleged to be Emily Hunter, and why the full tapes from both cameras hadn’t been released, Kathy Hochul calmly stopped to answer questions from reporters, having absolutely nothing to hide or run from.

Here’s what the Batavian’s Howard Owens wrote:

Nobody from the Erie County GOP or Jane Corwin’s camp has denied that there was a second camera operator and that she was there on behalf of the GOP.

When other reporters pressed Nick Langworthy, ECGOP chairman, on the second tape — under the assumption that it would tell the full story of what really happened during the incident — Langworthy said there was no tape because  the battery was dead.

However, the WGRZ footage shows the GOP operative is operating a camera, something no reasonable person would do if the battery was dead (Judge Judy says, “If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true).

Since there must obviously be a second tape, the logical question is, where is it and why hasn’t it been released?  The most logical person to ask about it is the CEO of the Corwin Campaign, which is Jane Corwin.

Certainly, Corwin, with all of her busienss experience, understands that the buck stops with the CEO.  She’s the one who needs to explain the conduct of the people she’s chosen to surround herself with, which is something she hasn’t done yet.

The result of my attempt to ask the question of Corwin can be seen in the video posted above.

Meanwhile, after Kathy Hochul (picture below) finished speaking, rather than rushing to get into her car, she stayed for another good twenty minutes and answered every question every reporter could think to ask.

Where’s the tape, Jane?


Meanwhile, Hochul calmly answering questions from all comers:

Which candidate do you think has a better-run campaign?  Which campaign has been operating rather seriously?

The NY-26 Republican Jobs Preservation Program

18 May

It’s one of the central tenets of contemporary Republican thought. We need to shrink the size of government. We need to make government smaller and more responsive. We need government to get out of people’s way and let businesses grow. We need to lower taxes by shrinking the bloated state payroll.  We need to not only shrink that state payroll, but eliminate positions and revoke many of the state benefits that attract talented people to go work for the state.

At Collins’ re-election campaign website, he lists his core values thusly:

Core Values/Guiding Principles

  • Smaller Government
    • Not large government with higher taxes
  • Personal Accountability
    • Not ever-expanding entitlement programs
  • Local Decision Making
    • Not politicians in Albany or Washington
  • Fiscal Discipline
    • Not smoke and mirrors
  • Serving Taxpayers
    • Not special interests

So it’s somewhat interesting – especially within the context of the race for the 26th Congressional District – to see all of these Republican kids clamoring to obtain or retain lucrative, benefit-rich government jobs.

And they always hit Democrats for being about growing government, patronage jobs, and sweet benefits.

Michael L. Mallia

The young Republican Horshack who rendered himself forever infamous via Google search by accosting elderly 3rd party congressional candidate Jack Davis (Tea-Ornery) while he was making his way from a veterans’ event to his car. Mallia’s unbelievable screams turned him quickly into a regionwide joke, which was made even more funny when it was revealed that he is currently employed by the state as Jane Corwin’s Assembly Chief of Staff.

The young Mr. Mallia has since been disappeared to Florida, far out of sight and, Corwin hopes, mind. The Davis YouTube stunt was a stink bomb that blew up directly in Corwin’s face, as well as the faces of those advising her campaign. Assemblywoman and million-heiress Corwin assures us that Mr. Mallia will remain a member of her Assembly staff, and she gave her best Sergeant Schultz impression whenever asked about the antics engaged in by her Chief of Staff whilst moonlighting as a campaign operative on her behalf.

Mr. Mallia is still being paid by you and me – he’s WNY’s most Fonzie-esque welfare recipient, and he hopes to add a Congressional gig to his resume if his boss gets elected to the Lee seat.

There’s nothing “smaller government” or “personal responsibility” about Michael Mallia.

Jeffrey Bochiechio

Mr. Bochiechio piqued my interest when Bob McCarthy named him in a recent column.  Mr. Bochiechio is a full-time UB Law student, but simultaneously earns well over $60,000 per year ostensibly as the WNY Regional Director for the State Senate Majority under Senator Dean Skelos.  His entire career has been as a political operative for Chris Collins, Jane Corwin, and Tom Reynolds.  Having attended law school, I’m at a loss to understand how someone can work a full-time job as a legislative liaison for the state while simultaneously attending a full-time law school.  Since 2008, he’s made more than $47,000 just from campaign work alone.

I don’t quite understand why the State Senate needs a majority or minority liaison in WNY (or any part of NY, for that matter).  Part of the reason why we ostensibly have a senate is so that we New Yorkers can elect senators to go and represent us there. If I need someone to liaise between me and the state government, I can call my Assemblywoman (unlikely) or my State Senator. I certainly don’t need a middleman. Likewise, Dean Skelos and John Sampson don’t need to dole out pointless, needless, costly patronage jobs to political hacks to basically do nothing while doing campaign work and/or attending law school. If the Republicans were even remotely serious about rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse, they’d start out by eliminating redundant state positions populated by a bunch of little Victor Getz clones.

There’s many more. Alleged 2nd cameraperson Emily Hunter is one. Just out of college, working for Lee in 2010, and working for the Corwin campaign now in order to preserve that job. The roster of people helping to do the legwork for local Republican candidates like Jane Corwin are very young kids – right down to the campaign management. For races like NY-26, they’ve not had a serious challenge in many years, so it’s been almost like the Republican apparatchik apprenticeship program. Come work for Lee, have fun! See the world!

But I am quite curious how some of them, like Bochiechio, are best able to serve the people of the state of New York in their official full-time state-paid capacity whilst a full-time 3L at UB Law.



Camera 2 and Batterygate #NY26

17 May

I’ve heard from several sources that the young woman operating camera two is named Emily Hunter. She’s a young Rochester-area Republican operative, and I’ve been working the phones trying to confirm this. Unsurprisingly, a call in to the Corwin campaign has not been returned.

Ms. Hunter is a recent University of Rochester graduate who was on Chris Lee’s payroll last summer. It’s fun to me how many of Corwin’s campaign staffers are Lee deadenders who want quite desperately to keep their sweet federal jobs and bennies.


I’m quite eager to ask her whether, as alleged by Tricky Nick Langworthy and the Corwin “campaign,” that the batteries were dead in the camcorder she was holding behind Michael “Horshack” Mallia on that fateful night when Mallia obstructed Jack Davis’ path to his car, yelling “coward!” at him. Everyone wants to know what’s on the tape she shot, and everyone wants to get her take on batterygate.



Rejecting the Range Rover Republicans

16 May

Kathy Hochul for Congress:
Vote Against Right-Wing Social Engineering

I am going to be voting for Kathy Hochul.  It’s not that I don’t like Ian Murphy, or even that I disagree with him. I like him and respect him for what he’s doing, jokes and all. But I’ll be voting for Kathy Hochul because right now she’s the center-left candidate who has been working very hard for a very long time indeed on behalf of western New York’s dwindling working class and struggling middle class.  Hochul is a thoughtful, hard-working civil servant who is a reasonably conservative Democrat; i.e., she and her positions reflect those of the reasonably centrist people in this district.

When a Republican tells you a Democrat is engaging in “class warfare”, thank him. It means you’re sticking up for the less powerful, the less influential in our society, and that you’re somewhat sick of benefits and welfare going to those who are already rich.

Chris Lee and Tom Reynolds were basically placeholder Republibots. Reynolds came from a background where he had to work for a living, so his main function in congress was to grow his own political clout and power, which has since enabled him to go to work as a lobbyist. He was always more interested in the Beltway game than western New York, except when Jack Davis’ campaign spooked him in 2006 (along with the Foley scandal), and Reynolds brought home some FEMA money to shut us up. Chris Lee, on the other hand, didn’t have to work for a living, and was a wealthy, privileged millionheir. He went to congress because it’s the next best thing to a knighthood for the superwealthy in this country; it would look good in the family tree. He occasionally did the right thing with shared border management and Flight 3407, but he was a millionaire looking out for the interests of millionaires everywhere.

I think it’s time we had a representative from NY-26 who served the interests of a middle-class, aging, rural/suburban district.  I think it’s time we had a representative who believes in good government, rather than spouting facile platitudes about “smaller government”.  I think it’s time we had a congressperson who wasn’t spouting some Randian pablum about growing business through the tax code; i.e., further lowering millionaires’ income tax rates to better grow the ranks of household help throughout America.  I think that it’s time we didn’t elect a political empty vessel with no credentials, no accomplishments, negligible experience, and whose first campaign act in this congressional race was to demonize gay people.  Also, Corwin is just a repeat liar. Her campaign has been relentlessly, viciously, and falsely negative almost in its entirety.  She has no serious positions and is no more or less of a joke candidate than Murphy himself.

Of the three millionaires in the race for NY-26, Hochul is the least millionary. She’s been running a serious campaign on serious issues, and she’s been looking out for us as clerk, doing a fantastic job there. The series of videos the Buffalo News posted, showing the three non-Murphy candidates’ meetings with its editorial board show a stark contrast between the candidates. Hochul’s positions are thoughtful and polished. Davis is like some Gilbert & Sullivan character at war with China. Corwin has, at best, a very superficial grasp of the substance of her “positions”, and the procedure in which to implement them

Jack Davis is unacceptable to me not because he calls for an end to free trade (I would support a candidate who demanded reciprocal rights and responsibilities under trade treaties); Jack Davis is unacceptable because he’s a xenophobe. He is anti-immigration and anti-immigrant. He thinks he’s entitled to go to Congress because he’s paying through the nose for it.

Jane Corwin isn’t some principled conservative thought leader; she’s an extreme right-wing sycophant who came out in favor of ending Medicare and privatizing it into a voucher program.  More incredibly, she doesn’t seem to understand that the bill she supports would do these things. Even more amazingly, she seems to misunderstand that the Ryan budget bill wasn’t just some abstract proposal subject to tweaking, but a bill that the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for to become law – and that she would have done the same. Medicare may need some shoring up, but to get rid of it would be devastating; let’s don’t forget that, at the time of Medicare’s passage, about a third of seniors lived in abject poverty.

If you’re poor or middle-class, health care costs in old age are a very real concern. When you’re a million-heir, they’re not.

Corwin isn’t just someone who was born into success and money, but she is just a Collins parrot, regurgitating his “government like a business” idiocies. Right out of the Erie County GOP central casting, she’s a exurban Range Rover driver who lives a life of leisure (i.e., wealthy unemployed) and has no concept of what regular people throughout the 26th district worry about.

Hochul can work bipartisanly, and is a relatively centrist Democrat whose positions reasonably reflect that of reasonable people. We can fix problems without engaging in what even Newt Gingrich refers to as “right wing social engineering“.

On top of all of that, Hochul has helped remake the clerk’s office so that renewing your license and closing on a house aren’t daylong excursions into a world that resembles Soviet Russia. She is responsive and competent – a higher compliment can hardly be paid to an elected official in western New York.

Please sign up to help make phone calls or canvass for Kathy Hochul through May 24th, and contribute here via ActBlue.

The Mallia Fail

Jane Corwin’s Assembly Chief of Staff, state employee Michael L. Mallia, has apparently disappeared to Florida, which is where the Erie County Republican Party disappears people who may embarrass it. (See Lee, Chris).  Corwin at first denied having seen the video, then refused to utter a critical word against her minion, since he was supposedly off the state’s clock. But what it underscores is the fact that Corwin has no knowledge what her campaign staff is up to, what her Assembly staff is up to, and instead of taking responsibility for her staffers’ misdeeds, she deflects. The buck stops…elsewhere.

“He wasn’t acting as my employee. He wasn’t acting on behalf of the Assembly or myself. He was a volunteer. This was on his own time,” she told the publication. “As his employer, I don’t think I should be telling him what he should and should not be doing with his free time.”

But as the candidate for whose campaign he works, he was representing you when traveling all the way out to Greece – well outside of your Assembly District – to harass and cajole Jack Davis; to call crazy Jack Davis a “coward” to goad him into reacting dramatically. It backfired. Your Assembly chief of staff comes across like a whiny asshole, as does your whole campaign.

Corwin refused to demand that the Erie County GOP release both full videotapes – both Mallia‘s, and the tape from the camcorder being held by a female seen behind Mallia in the Channel 2 video. Erie County Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy also refused to release the full video, making two simply astonishing statements in the process.

Langworthy told the Buffalo News:

I think the footage speaks for itself.

Yes, but not in the way he thinks.

What it shows is that some young punk Mallia – more Horshack than Fonzie – whined dramatically when Davis swatted his camera away as he was blocking Davis’ way to his car.

Then Langworthy said that the female’s video wouldn’t be released because,

Langworthy said the battery in the camera was dead.

Camcorder viewfinders are little video screens. They’re not optical. The girl in the video is clearly recording something and looking in the viewfinder. This is a lie.

Also, Langworthy invoked the little known reverse-Godwin-law, or “Niwdog’s Law”, likening Michael L. Mallia and the Corwin campaign to accused World War II Nazi war criminals.

Questioning whether Davis has the temperament to serve in Congress, Langworthy added: “Why are we putting Mike Mallia and this campaign through Nuremberg over the fact that one candidate lashed out, lost his cool and misbehaved?”

Seriously, you couldn’t dream up a more ineffective and insincere campaign than Corwin’s. She might be self-funded, but that’s all she is.

I want to see Mallia‘s video in its entirety.  I want to see the video – in its entirety – that was recorded by the woman behind Mallia, shown above. To suggest that her battery ran out assumes we’re all idiots.

Let’s Talk Tea Parties

There’s a lot of misinformation on Twitter and elsewhere regarding whether Jack Davis is a true Tea Party candidate. Make no mistake about two things: 1. Anyone who pays tens of thousands of dollars to Jim Ostrowski and David DiPietro to help run a campaign is a bona fide tea partier; and 2. I love that Davis is in this race because he helps Hochul.

When the tea parties sprang up in 2009, they went out of their way to portray themselves as non-racialist, non-partisan grassroots groupings of people who opposed health care reform and other Obama initiatives. As time has gone on, however, that grass has turned Astroturfy, and mainstream Republican committees have gone out of their way to try and consume the tea party movements and run them under the party umbrella.  That happened here in western New York during the Paladino campaign, during the campaign to replace Dale Volker, and is happening now in NY-26.

While the mainstream Republican/Palinist wing of the Republican Party backed Corwin as the establishment Republican who made mouth-noises that vaguely resembled what they wanted to hear, the libertarian wing of the local tea party endorsed Jack Davis. I think they’re all wrong, but to suggest that Davis isn’t a bona fide “tea party” candidate is factually inaccurate. No one owns the copyright on that term. Corwin partisans would do well to tell the truth and simply state that Davis’ wing of the tea party hasn’t yet been subsumed by the ECGOP. At least that would be honest.

Bellavia Resurfaces : Hell Hath No Fury…

Remember David Bellavia? The combat veteran of the Iraq War quite vocally endorsed Jack Davis at the very event that ended with Michael L. Mallia’s overdramatic, girlish antics. Bellavia is a conservative Republican with whom I disagree about … well, about everything. But I don’t doubt that Bellavia is sincere, and that he’s honorable. These are rare traits in politics, and political hacks don’t know what to make of it, or him.

Bellavia is the guy Paladino and Collins tried to convince to leave the race, and pave the way for Corwin. Bellavia couldn’t be convinced to leave the race, so the establishment Republicans instead threatened him. They assailed him by threatening to ruin his reputation, his credit, his job, his life. After having all but promised Bellavia the endorsement “next time” in exchange for his exit from the race and endorsement of Chris Lee in 2008, they turned their backs on him in favor of Range Rover Republican Jane Corwin.

Combat veteran Bellavia tried to make his way onto the ballot by soliciting the assistance of another guy who got royally screwed by the western New York Republican Party bosses and elites, combat veteran Gary Berntsen. Bellavia is out for revenge against the Range Rover Republicans and their accomplices in the party hierarchies – the middle-class guys who love being so close to money.  To guys like Bellavia, principles and honor are worth more than all the money in Collins’, Lee’s, and Corwin’s bank accounts, combined.  He is supporting Jack Davis, and is actively recruiting tea partiers, Republican activists, and veterans to join him.

Strange Bedfellows

If you haven’t yet read this article, which appeared on Politicker NY on Friday, do. It’s a fun read. The joint mission is Corwin’s defeat, and Caputo has a keen sense of humor, strategy, and timing.


How Corwin’s Dream Team Screwed Paladino

13 May

Evidence of Fraud?

The brain trust behind the ridiculous Corwin “campaign” is facing its first real test right now. Chris Grant (a former guest poster on this site) and Nick Langworthy, the Erie County Republican chairman, are known throughout the region and state, respectively, as wunderkinds who brilliantly navigated candidates such as Jane Corwin, Chris Collins, and Chris Lee to victory. They were part of the team that incredibly secured the Republican nomination for unlikely nominee and email enthusiast Carl Paladino.

There’s just one problem with the mythology there. They’ve never faced a credible opponent.

Jeff Bono? Alice Kryzan? Rick Lazio? Jim Keane? The only one of those who broke 40% was Kryzan. Barely.

With this week’s poorly planned, and horribly executed, failed effort to “gotcha” Jack Davis, the Corwin campaign and those running it are looking quite clownish. It’s amateur hour when your tracker ends up sounding like this.

But Chris Grant and Nick Langworthy have a history of apparently screwing their candidate.

A tipster clued me in this week to a story dating back to the Paladino campaign that was never revealed publicly involving both of Corwin’s brain trust.  I asked around and the story snowballed from there.

In the days leading up to the Republican primary in 2010, Paladino and the tea party wing supporting him (the “Taxpayer Party” line) were backing Air Force veteran and decorated former CIA officer Gary Berntsen for Senate, not professional political strategist Jay Townsend. People close to the situation allege that Chris Collins’ Chief of Staff Chris Grant and Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy deceived Carl Paladino and misappropriated his money to print a palm card endorsing the wrong US Senate candidate, Jay Townsend. Grant and Langworthy are now helping to run Corwin’s awful campaign.

Paladino confidants I spoke with allege that both Langworthy and Grant knew full well that Paladino was supporting Gary Berntsen, but that they conspired behind Carl’s back with Nick Sinatra and Roger Stone to deliberately mislead conservatives and tea partiers throughout New York State into thinking that Carl backed Townsend instead.

With full knowledge that Paladino was backing Berntsen, former Rove aide Nick Sinatra – a longtime family friend of Paladino’s – went behind Carl’s back and plotted with Stone, Grant, and Langworthy to replace Berntsen’s name and image with Townsend’s on palmcards to be distributed by conservative and tea party groups throughout New York State. This email is the smoking gun:

The PDF attached to the email is the image at the top of this post.

Grant sent the palmcard to Langworthy, who sent it to Sinatra, who sent it to Stone and Paladino petitions guru and federal indictee John Haggerty for printing.  They were printed by Keller Brothers printing in Buffalo at a cost likely exceeding $5,000, which, if accurate, would make this a felony fraud.  Langworthy and Grant did not respond to emails asking for their side of the story, or some comment.

Feelings about this issue are still raw. TEA New York (Palinists) sent this out in March to their email list:

Commandos & Mercenaries

Former Iraq War commander Gary Berntsen has come out in full support of fellow veteran David Bellavia for the Special Election in the 26th CD.  We love David too, but are reticent to endorse, as the TEA Party doesn’t generally support third party candidates, for fear of splitting the line, and handing the seat to the least favorable of all contenders.  You’ll remember that Gary Berntsen was the US Senate candidate that opposed Chuckie Schumer, and was listed on the Taxpayer petition along with the rest of the Paladino team of candidates.  Well, a few people in Carl’s campaign, some paid, apparently fancied themselves independent political operatives and clandestine master manipulators, and spent a small fortune of Carl’s money WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE OR APPROVAL, for a large lit drop naming Jay Townsend as the Paladino endorsed candidate.  We caught wind and squelched the effort as best we could, and Carl issued an urgent press release confirming Berntsen as the Paladino endorsed candidate.  But a Langworthy/GOP rally featuring Townsend along with Carl only served to reinforce support for Townsend, confuse others, and ultimately split the votes between Townsend and Berntsen.  Townsend was getting similar support from RINO leaders around state, and went on the win the Primary, but lost in the General Election. Bernsten got screwed by the Republicans, and now he has assembled a sizable army that have come up from Long Island to gather signatures for Bellavia.  At this writing, they have met the minimum, and are now exceeding the number of signatures needed to run a third line, which is called the Federalist Party.

Berntsen was instrumental in the effort to help Bellavia get on the ballot in NY-26, an effort that failed due to a lack of money and a concerted effort by the Republicans to threaten anyone and everyone associated with Bellavia. Paladino was first made aware of this fraud one day before the September 2010 primary by a tea party activist in Staten Island, who angrily called the Paladino campaign to complain about the Townsend replacement.  The palmcards had been sent by Sinatra.  The tea party – especially Berntsen’s core supporters at the Long Island Conservative Society for Action – was pissed, as was Paladino,  who immediately and publicly expressed his support for Berntsen.

Paladino did not, however, recall the palm cards, and thousands were passed out to voters throughout western New York, and around the state.  It’s quite possible that this clever trickery cost Berntsen the primary.  Most of these cards ended up here, where turnout in the Republican primary was huge.

After all, at the time, Paladino was assured by the apparent wrongdoers that this was all just a printing error; that it was inadvertent.  It wasn’t until the email shown above was revealed many months later that the deception became evident.

Calls to the FBI were met with the standard, “we can neither confirm nor deny” that there is – or was – an investigation into this fraud. Emails to Grant and Langworthy seeking comment sent Thursday morning were not returned.  I did confirm that the FBI interviewed Berntsen, as well as others involved in the deceit. The authenticity of the email shown above has been confirmed through several sources who worked closely with the Paladino campaign, and is not in dispute.

Jane Corwin’s campaign should watch its back, and make sure it closely guards its checkbook.  As we’ve learned through the Bellavia whisper campaign, the failed set-up of Jack Davis by Corwin and Michael Mallia, there is no level quite too low for these guys to stoop to.  This, folks, is your Erie County Republican Party. These are the Keystone Kops who will soon be running the Collins re-election campaign.