Tag Archives: Independence Party

The Nihilist Party Line

11 Oct

In this week’s print version of Artvoice, Geoff Kelly wonders what’s so independent about the Independence Party? He points to an IP line challenge waged against Stefan Mychajliw in the Comptroller’s race, 

The Independence Party is famous for being a tool that major party candidates manipulate to drain their opponents of resources and votes. Similar chicanery attended the successful effort by incumbent State Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican, to win the IP line in the 60th District. Grisanti’s nominating petitions were circulated not by IP members but by Republicans, many of them from out of the region.

All this is of no consequence now, but it begs the question: Given the way major parties use the IP as their playground, what exactly is the Independence Party? And what’s “independent” about it?

I feel like I’ve been shouting in the deep, dark wilderness. Electoral fusion is part of what makes New York a banana republic. 

Electoral fusion is awful. It is the root of very many evils. It allows candidates and other connected individuals to manipulate elections in order to maximize political power and monetary return (patronage jobs, e.g.) for them and their hangers-on. There is no rational way that Ralph Lorigo, for example, should have the power he has. There was no way a barber from Springville should have been a kingmaker. The Conservative Party is, for the most part, a wholly owned subsidiary of the highest bidder. The statewide Independence Party was so angry about being manipulated by Democrats who were using it to trick low-information voters who thought they were voting for a small-i “independent” that they decided to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the state Republican Committee.

Electoral fusion is constantly being manipulated by bad people for bad reasons. It is used as a shield against some fantastical electoral rigor whereby a (R) will never color in the box for a (D) and vice-versa. It is used as a sword against people who don’t play ball with very petty people. 

You can read some examples here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  

Grisanti to Receive Endorsement of Other Horrible Transactional Fusion Party

28 Feb

At 1:30 pm today, a press conference will be held in Buffalo to announce that the Independence Party, which is neither independent nor really any sort of political party with any firm ideology or platform aside from the personal ambitions of its leadership, will endorse Mark Grisanti for re-election. 

This comes quickly on the heels of the recent announcement that the Conservative Party, which is hardly conservative nor really any sort of political party with a firm and consistent set of policy positions except for a generalized abhorrence of gays, modern society, and taxes, will attempt to throw WNY under a massive bendy bus by endorsing reprehensible homophobic retread Chuck Swanick – star of the mid-last-decade county financial meltdown – in a deal cut with former Pedro Espada patronage hire Steve Pigeon.  With Espada’s indictment, Pigeon finds himself needing something more to do than just ally himself with Albany-based cults.  

Also, Swanick received the endorsement of the reactionary homophobic bigots at the improperly named “National Organization for Marriage“. 

If you want to stop how pitifully transactional our local politics have become, and begin cleaning things up; if you want to promote good policy and less patronage-laden dealmaking, abolish electoral fusion in New York State. 

Collins Should Reject Conservative, Independence Party Endorsements

28 Jul

Yesterday, reputed golf cheat and local wealthy person Chris Collins called on Mark Poloncarz to reject the endorsement of the Working Families Party because ACORN! SOSHULIZM! and because of improprieties that took place by New York City-based representatives of that party – well, to wealthy industrialists from Spaulding Lake “money donated by unions” is a synonym for “improprieties”.

By that logic, I call on Chris Collins to reject the endorsements of the Conservative Party, which is fundamentally corrupt and based not on political ideology, but on what’s in it for its members.  I also call on Chris Collins to reject the endorsement of the so-called Independence Party, which has also been mired in controversy after controversy, including Mr. Haggerty’s current unpleasantness, accusations regarding quids pro quo in Erie & Monroe Counties with Jack Davis, and myriad other, daily payoffs that the IP gets for confusing unsophisticated voters into thinking that their endorsement means that the candidate is in some way “independent” of something.

Electoral Fusion is, at its core, a jobs-generating joke. It has no political value whatsoever. The Working Families Party actually has a platform, at least.  It’s just that its platform helps working people – something Chris Collins wouldn’t know very much about.

Run, Jack, Run!

18 Feb

Jack Davis.

At long last, he has become a candidate any Democrat could love.  (1) He has realized that he is really a Republican; and (2) he’s getting busy trying to split the Republican vote in NY-26.  Specifically, he was quoted in the Batavia Daily News saying,

“My core Republican values of lower taxes, less government, strong defense and closed borders have never changed,”

While Republicans will meet on Sunday under the pretense of interviewing potential candidates, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin is all but a lock.  She’s an uncontroversial, relatively empty political vessel who can easily self-fund her election and parrot Republican talking points.  That’s frankly all anyone needs to be and do in order to win in NY-26. (See Lee, Chris).  Any Democrat would have a tough race against her in this district which was tailor-made to ensure Tom Reynolds’ perpetual re-election.


But with Jack Davis having switched back to his natural home in the Republican Party, pledging to spend $3 million of his own cash money – twice what the likely Democratic candidate hopes to raise – he can do some real damage in the race, and chances are much of it will spray onto Corwin.

Two years ago, I explained in great detail why it was that Jack Davis was political poison who didn’t deserve Democrats’ support.  Aside from his backhanded insults directed at primary foe Jon Powers’ military service, Davis had said after his loss to Reynolds in 2006 that he was “relieved” to have lost.  He’s such a horribly transactional politician that he was caught red-handed paying off the Independence Party bosses in an effort to secure that line for himself.


Let’s not forget that he’s a virulently hateful anti-immigrant demagogue. It always pained me when labor would support Davis thanks to his anti-free-trade policies, yet they ignored his ugly thoughts about immigrants.


Anyhow, in my 2008 open letter to Davis, I wrote,

But on top of everything, let’s cut the bullshit, Jack.

You’re really a Republican. Yes, Cheney snubbed you after you gave him $2,000 and you wanted to engage him on trade policy, but you’re a conservative Republican at heart.

So, go back to I-Squared-R. Stay home this year. Let someone who works hard; someone with a chance win. Let someone win who actually wants the job, Jack.

Well, I rescind that.  Now that Davis has returned to his natural home in the Republican Party, I say run, Jack, run.  Buy yourself the 3,500 petition signatures you need.  Pay off another minor party.  Buy, buy, buy whatever and whomever you need to buy to get yourself on the ballot.  Scruples?  Schmuples!  A Jack Davis campaign in 2011 will only do wonders for any Democratic candidate, especially in a district where the Democrat lost 52-48 in 2006 and 55-45 in 2008.  With a natural margin that tight, Davis could be the deciding factor in enabling a Democratic victory.

Jack Davis is quite literally one of the most noxiously hateful, angry, and vindictive people ever to soil our regional political system.  That he has finally stopped defecating all over the Democrats while sporting a (D) after his name is a blessing, because now he’s free to split the hateful, angry, vindictive, xenophobic vote from the Republicans.

Go, Jack!

The Independence Party: Independent from Steve Pigeon?

20 Jul

Permit me to preface this post by re-stating my profound hatred for fusion voting in general and the Independence Party in particular.

I was flabbergasted yesterday to receive a press release from Assemblyman Sam Hoyt announcing that he had received the endorsement of the New York State Independence Party. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of local politics knows two things: (a) Steve Pigeon has become the de facto go-to guy for IP endorsements locally; and (b) Steve Pigeon and Sam Hoyt hate each other with a passion unbridled and would go to the ends of the Earth to destroy each other.

Not only that, but Bill Stachowski in SD-58 and Jim Domagalski in SD-59.

Joe Golombek is challenging Sam Hoyt in A-144, and it’s no secret that he’s aligned himself with Mayor Brown, who is aligned with Grassroots, which is aligned with Steve Pigeon, who is supposed to be the guy who controls whom the IP endorses. Golombek’s website already touted his IP endorsement. So did Kennedy’s.

Tim Kennedy is challenging Bill Stachowski in SD-58, and it’s no secret that he’s aligned himself with Chris Collins, who has aligned himself with Grassroots and Steve Pigeon, who is supposed to be the guy who controls whom the IP endorses.

One could almost argue that Golombek’s and Kennedy’s entire campaign strategy in terms of whom they’ve aligned themselves with have been completely blown to shreds in the last 24 hours.

In SD-59, it’s a Republican war going on between the tea party factions, Tom Reynolds, and Chris Collins. DiPietro is supposed to be the tea party guy, but now Ostrowski and his 2 supporters have turned on him, so he’s only got the support of the Rus Thompson faction. Domagalski is the Chris Collins pick, and Pat Gallivan is the revenge of Tom Reynolds. In the end, Domagalski got the IP nod, giving his campaign a boost.

Indeed, the conventional wisdom behind getting the IP line is that it gives party-line adherents an opportunity to throw you a vote without having to fill in a box with an “R” or “D” next to it. Here, it also ensures that the candidate is still around in November, regardless of what happens at the polls in the primary races in September.

For Sam Hoyt and Bill Stachowski to get the IP endorsement is a huge coup for them both, and seems to significantly undercut Steve Pigeon’s power in local electoral politics. I’m sure he’s owed enough favors that he’ll find a way to get himself and his friends jobs some other way. But it seems that there are people in this state who currently enjoy exponentially more political clout than Pedro Espada’s patronage hire.

Flabbergasted Whilst Ignoring the Bleeding Obvious

11 Jul

In Sunday’s Buffalo News Bob McCarthy metaphorically sticks his head in the sand about the Detestable Independence Party’s endorsement of Tim Kennedy over Bill Stachowski in the SD-58 Democratic Primary.

That minor party founded in New York by Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano is essentially controlled upstate by Democratic operative Steve Pigeon. Why? Because state Independence Chairman Frank MacKay said so, that’s why.

Rosenswie begs to differ. But she works in the same County Legislature where Pigeon helped assemble a majority friendly to County Executive Chris Collins. Legislator Christina Wleklinski Bove, a Rosenswie ally, is part of that majority. So is Kennedy.

Pigeon is also the $150,000 counsel to Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, one of two New York City members who threw the Senate into a tizzy last year when they joined a coup orchestrated by Pigeon and his political patron—Golisano.

So political insiders everywhere were flabbergasted last week when Pigeon-controlled Independence bypassed a Senate stalwart — Stachowski—for Kennedy. Did the move by a top Senate staffer amount to the Democratic leadership throwing a vulnerable member under the bus? Especially because the Stachowski seat is crucial to continued Democratic control?

Pigeon won’t talk, but a source familiar with his thinking said the Independence move signals the belief Stachowski can’t win.

Other Senate sources, however, say Pigeon’s move reflects uncertainity surrounding Espada, who was basically read out of the Democratic Party last week by Chairman Jay Jacobs.

“Steve Pigeon’s only alliance in the Senate is with Pedro Espada, and Espada’s days are numbered,” said one top Albany source. “Steve knows he has to have another horse in the game.”

Back here on earth, it’s pretty easy to sniff out the blatantly obvious quid pro quo. Kennedy signed on to Pigeon’s “reform coalition” in the leg with the understanding that Pigeon could deliver the Detestable IP (hereafter DIP) line. And when Espada loses / does his perp walk, perhaps Kennedy will help Pigeon retain a position with the needless State Senate.

Everybody wins!

The Republican Race in SD-59 So Far

7 Jul

Republican candidate for SD-59 (the Volker seat) David DiPietro emailed this result from a poll of unknown provenance. It explains why the Independence Party endorsed Pat Gallivan. They figure he’ll win, and he can provide them some J-O-B jobs.

Bear in mind, DiPietro’s been in this race forever, and Gallivan’s been in it for about 2 minutes. Notably, Domagalski is nowhere. Also notably, “undecided” is doing pretty well, too.

I emailed DiPietro these questions:

Who commissioned this poll?
Who conducted the poll?
When was it conducted?
How was it conducted?

When I hear back, I’ll update this post.

Electoral Fusion Must Go

17 Jun

It is fundamentally disingenuous for Andrew Cuomo to reject the Working Families Party line because of ongoing investigations into its activities, but then to accept the Independence Party line. After all, the Independence Party is knee-deep in the Haggerty money laundering / grand larceny case, and also in the Steve Pigeon / Pedro Espada investigation regarding, among other things, election law violations and tax fraud.

The Independence Party is the poster child for the corruption that naturally arises out of electoral fusion. Along with independent redistricting, part of what’s critically necessary to reform politics in this state is to abolish electoral fusion. Politics will always have money and quid-pro-quos behind the scenes, but fusion makes it particularly dirty, lucrative, and acute.

Collins Tweets

16 Sep

This morning around 9:44, a tweet came across my phone from Chris Collins. Here’s what it said:

If you were to follow that link, it leads to this article by Matt Spina about all of the Collins-supported candidates who won their Independence Party primaries, including Lynne Dixon and Kevin Hardwick.

But look carefully at that tweet. It’s not from Chris Collins. It’s not from Collins for our Future. It’s from “eriecountyexec“. Most of the tweets posted using that account are lauding various projects that Mr. Collins believes are beneficial to the county and helpful to its citizens. A politician using social media to tout how great of a job he’s doing is totally normal and expected. The website listed for that account is “www.erie.gov“.

What’s not expected is electioneering.

The county executive’s opinions concerning electoral successes last night among his slate of candidates is something that should not be going out on an Erie County Executive twitter account – an account that will probably be controlled in the future by other county executives. It should be for county business, not electioneering.

I tweeted this:

I would like @eriecountyexec to explain why he’s using _that_ Twitter account for non-county, political purposes. #WNY

and this:

Is @eriecountyexec suggesting that his slate winning primaries in the detestable Independence Party is “great” for all in Erie County?

Naturally, no one responded. So I sent the following to Collins’ spokesman, Grant Loomis:

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM
To: [redacted]erie.gov

Grant – The “eriecountyexec” twitter account appears to be the one that Mr. Collins uses for county business:

I’m the Chief Executive Officer of Erie County, NY. Running Erie County like the billion dollar business that it is.
Location: Erie County, New York
Time Zone: Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Joined: Mon 23 Feb 2009 20:28
Following: 24
Followers: 106
Updates: 65
Favorites: 0
Friend: Yes
Notifications: No
Protected: No
Web: http://www.erie.gov
Twitter: twitter.com/eriecountyexec

At 9:44 this morning, a tweet was sent from that account that read as follows:

Great night last night. http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/buffaloerie/story/797172.html

Can you please provide me a comment as to why the Erie County Executive’s twitter account would be commenting in any way on the goings-on in an Independence Party primary race? Shouldn’t the county executive’s official pronouncements have to do with county business, and not partisan politics? Shouldn’t Collins’ opinion concerning county races be reserved for a “Collins for our Future” campaign twitter account, and not for the account he uses for county business and the promotion thereof?

I’m happy to include whatever comment or statement in a post.

Thanks in advance,


The tweet in question, along with one having to do with a “Taxpayers’ Newsletter”, was deleted sometime this afternoon. I guess that’s all the comment/statement they had.

Irony & Disingenuousness from Electoral Parasites

30 Jul
Thinks good government is for pussies

Tony Orsini. Statesman. Power broker.

Any of you heard of Ford Beckwith?  I’m loath to link, but he obliged in this comment to my earlier post addressed to fellow WNYMer Rus Thompson.  Beckwith is a member of the local version of something called the “Independence Party”.  That party, whose existence can be attributed to (a) fusion voting; (b) patronage; (c) failure; and (d) shame, has been led by Tony Orsini, and now is controlled by Steve Pigeon.  Beckwith is part of a breakaway faction of local IP members who are perpetually going to court to basically fight with the Pigeon branch over who gets to run the asylum.  It is the poster child for why electoral fusion is an objectively worthless way for some little people to pretend they’re important.

The Independence Party is an electoral parasite.

So, this comment from Beckwith was especially hilarious (but I don’t know if it could be considered “harrasitory“):

Alen, your posts are so liberal that it makes me sick. The Demon-crats have destroyed our state for a few bucks in their own pockets and when Rus exposes them for who they are, you and the rest of the liberals cry over it. Your most recent post says it all. Quit crying and deal with it. I can only imagine if you had actually gotten elected that you would have gladly signed onto all the tax/fee increases your party has thrust upon us. its obvious that is who you really are!

My response:

Alen, your posts are so liberal that it makes me sick.

Who’s Alen?

The Demon-crats have destroyed our state for a few bucks in their own pockets and when Rus exposes them for who they are, you and the rest of the liberals cry over it.

Actually, all of the politicians in Albany have done this.  Democrats don’t have a monopoly on bad governance, waste, or bad Albany behavior.  But since you’re evidently a zealot, you don’t really care about your own side’s malfeasance.  Hence, the jejune use of terms like “Demon-crats”.

Your most recent post says it all. Quit crying and deal with it.

Actually, you’re evidently the one who should stop “crying and deal with it”.

I can only imagine if you had actually gotten elected that you would have gladly signed onto all the tax/fee increases your party has thrust upon us. its obvious that is who you really are!

Oh, tell us more about your imagination, silly little man.

Incidentally, Mr. Beckwith, you’re a member of the Independence Party – you know, that piece of shit that “endorses” candidates who are registered with major parties in an effort to make sure certain people get certain jobs.  I detest electoral fusion and I especially detest the despicable Independence Party and just about everyone associated with its alleged “leadership”.

Your group endorsed Byron Brown, Bob Reynolds, and Dan Kozub?  Whose jobs are being protected with those endorsements?  I guess those “demon-crats” aren’t that bad after all.

For you to get all high-and-mighty about good government while trying to wrest control of a patronage pay-for-play mill like the IP is the height of disingenuous arrogance.

You lose.

Postscript: If you don’t think the IP is a cesspool, I have two words for you:  Chuck. Swanick.