Tag Archives: jack davis

Jack Davis Expected to Form a Pro-David Bellavia SuperPAC

26 Mar

In the Republican race to take on Kathy Hochul in the newly reconstituted NY-27, the main advantage Chris Collins has over David Bellavia is related to the size of his bank account, and his willingness to use it. 

Not so fast. 

Look for curmudgeonly Akron industrialist Jack Davis, who ran for Congress in 2006, 2008, and 2011 as a Democrat, under the “Save Jobs Party” banner, and finally as a Republican to set up a pro-David Bellavia SuperPAC within the next few days. 

As we’ve seen in the presidential campaign, the SuperPAC is free to spend unlimited, undisclosed sums of money to actively support a candidate for federal office.

I suspect this isn’t good news for Mr. Collins, who was counting on obliterating Bellavia with expensive TV time and mailers. 

Maelstrom: Mallia Out

1 Jun

The phenomenal anti-Collins Republican Maelstrom blog is reporting that Michael L. Mallia, the Republican Fonzie / Jane Corwin Assembly Chief of Staff is resigning his post.

Corwin will wear her weak defense of Mallia for many months and will endure the whispers of other Assemblymen and women behind her back. They all know that a Chief of Staff of a sitting Assemblywomen does not quit at 5 o’clock as Corwin claimed. A Chief of Staff must be available at all hours, as the Assemblywoman and other elected state officials are. Not to mention the fact Mallia was obviously working for Corwin and her campaign when the video was recorded otherwise Langworthy would not have immediately posted it on the official Republican Party YouTube website.

Had this happened on or about May 12th, after Mallia’s video ricocheted back into her campaign’s face, Corwin may have had a better shot in the special election.

Now? the video has been removed from the ECGOP YouTube stream. Only people who have the code can view it. What was once a source of excitement and pride is now a symbol of utter failure.

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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…

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 WNYMedia.net 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.)

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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 WNYMedia.net, 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 WNYMedia.net 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.

Last-Minute #NY26 Snippets

24 May

Murphy Calls for Corwin

Last week, I asked Green Party candidate Ian Murphy what his plans were for the weekend, and he sort of shrugged. Evidently, he had this up his sleeve. He posed as an eager young Republican volunteer, waltzed into Corwin HQ and started making calls.

I actually spoke with roughly 100 people, and the majority of them were extremely upset with the harassment by phone. Unless they immediately relented and said they were voting for Jane, their name went back into the system, and we’d call them until their spirits were thoroughly crushed. It’s an odd campaigning strategy — one that is no doubt backfiring.

People are sick of the media saturation–the constant lies spewing from camp Corwin. These calls seemed to represent the last straw for a lot of folks.

“Um, Bob?” I beckon the supervisor.

“Yeah, Steve, what is it?”

“Some of these people are saying that Jane is going to end Medicare–just because that’s what the Wall Street Journal wrote. What should I tell them–should I lie?”

“Hmm…” Bob thinks about this for a few seconds. “They’ve been asking about Medicare?”

“Yeah.” And they were.

“Shit,” he mumbles under his breath. “Don’t lie. Tell them that, if they’re 55 or over, Jane’s plan won’t change their Medicare. And if they’re 54 or under tell them that Jane’s plan will…um…make things…better.” He walks away.

“But, Bob?” I call after him. “Some of these people are younger and they think Medicare is a problem…should I tell them that Jane’s plan will end Medicare?”

“Yeah, if it helps,” he says, running back to his desk. The ruminant Chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee Nick Langworthy is lingering in a back corner. They conspire about something terrible, no doubt.

and

“Hi, sir, my name’s Steve and I’m a volunteer for the Jane Corwin campaign–”

“Jesus!” a guy screams at me. “You know, I was thinking about voting for Corwin, but this is too much! You people have called me a dozen times in the last two days! I am sick of it!”

“But Jane Corwin wants to rule over you with an iron fist,” I calmly relay. “Don’t you crave strong leadership?”

“What?!” he balks. “An ‘iron fist’?”

“Yes,” I assure him. “These phone calls are just the beginning. When Jane’s in Congress she will do everything in her power to crush you mentally and physically.”

“Don’t call me again!” he says and slams down the receiver.

Through the pranksterism, you catch a glimpse of a very poorly run campaign that has absolutely no clue about how to get the vote out. Pro tip: don’t call prime (R)s so damn much that you actually piss them off into not voting for your candidate.

Coniglio Challenges Man Who Owns Own Law Firm

I received this in my inbox yesterday:

Last week, Carl Paladino appeared on the Tom Bauerle show and made a variety of comments regarding the 26th district congressional race. During his commentary, he stated that Jack Davis, the tea party candidate, bought the tea party line by “paying off three tea party guys” who are all on his payroll. He then proceeded to name the three in the following order: “Coniglio, Bellavia, and Ostrowski”. He referred several times during the remainder of the show to the idea that the Davis endorsement had been bought. The fact of the matter is that I have never received payment of any kind from anyone at any time for any work I have done for the tea party movement, nor have I ever sought payment in any way, nor would I accept payment from anyone if offered. Further, it should be noted that there is a putative tea party group in Buffalo which is controlled and operated by a man with long time ties to the Republican party, Rus Thompson, who always supports the Republican party and their candidates. Thompson and Paladino effectively ended the campaign of tea party candidate, David DiPietro, by supporting GOP boss Jim Domagalski in the 59th district senate race last year. It should be understood that we in the true tea party movement have been fighting the efforts of the Republicans to infiltrate and control the tea party movement since the very beginning and it can be further stated that that infiltration and control has effectively been accomplished in much of the United States as many so called tea party groups are now run by the Republican party and/or their operatives. The tea party was established because we the people were not satisfied with the actions of any political party, including the Republicans, and a Republican takeover of the tea party is not in the interests of the people of this nation. Locally, we the people have been fighting the Thompson group which we refer to as TeaGOP but as Thompson knows very well how to manipulate and control the press, it has been a difficult struggle. Thompson appeared on the Bauerle show with Paladino and made numerous comments agreeing with and/or supporting Paladino’s assertions that the Davis endorsement had been purchased. Thompson was himself paid a sum, believed to be at least $35,000 to promote Paladino as the putative tea party candidate for governor which to many of us in the tea party movement was laughable and dishonest. Paladino is in a position to know that I have never received any payment from anyone and despite that, he recklessly and maliciously sought to destroy my reputation for the purpose of destroying the Davis campaign and to offer support for the hand picked candidate of the GOP party bosses, Jane Corwin, who has shown herself to be unfit for office as a woman who will stoop to any dirty trick to be elected. Paladino has a history of making reckless and untrue statements designed to destroy, such as his comment last year that Andrew Cuomo’s “prowess is legendary” in reference to Cuopmo’s alleged affairs outside of his marriage. His propensity for acting as a violent thug is well known as well as can be seen by his remarks that “I am going to take you out, buddy” to Fred Dicker and that he is going to clean out Albany with a baseball bat. I will not be bullied by Paladino and I will not sit idly by as he acts in his usual manner to destroy the reputation of anyone who gets in his way.

I am hereby advising Carl Paladino that if he does not issue a retraction of his statement to all press outlets in the area served by WBEN radio claiming that I am on the Jack Davis payroll and that I received money to endorse Jack Davis by Friday at 5 PM, I will pursue further action against him in a court of law.

Never thought I’d say this, but good for Coniglio. Taking on the biggest asshole with the biggest mouth in town takes balls.

Betsy McCaughey Throws Corwin an Anchor

That’s the headline here, which details the fact that anti-universal-health-care advocate and inveterate liar Betsy McCaughey was in town to campaign for Jane Corwin. She was quoted telling people that the Ryan plan to privatize and voucherize Medicare coverage for people now under 55 is a fantastic idea, and she only wishes it was bolder and was implemented immediately. The DCCC responded:

Jane Corwin (NY-26) was joined on the campaign trail today by former Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey.  As the Siena College poll released this weekend shows, NY-26 voters are rejecting Jane Corwin’s plan to end Medicare, and her latest move reconfirms her commitment to ending Medicare.

“Jane Corwin has chosen to campaign with Betsy McCaughey, who not only wholeheartedly supports the Republican plan to end Medicare, but actually thinks it’s a ‘shame’ that the plan doesn’t end Medicare immediately for current seniors,” said Josh Schwerin, Northeast Regional Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  “Even as voters are rejecting her positions, Jane Corwin is doubling down on her support for the radical Republican plan to end Medicare while protecting taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil.

Corwin was also joined by Jim Martin of the 60 Plus Association, a group well known for their vocal support of privatizing Medicare and Social Security.

 

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.

and

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.

 

Davis Lit: Political Chick Tract

22 May

Here is some interesting Davis lit I saw at the Hochul rally yesterday.  The design is unique and something that I would at least look through before throwing out, but the content is bizarre (read: shit).

It’s sort of no surprise that Davis’ support is plummeting. When your lit reads and looks like an overgrown Chick tract, people will pay attention for that split-second it takes before realizing the candidate is on the fringes of normal, if not sane.  Thanks to the fact that Corwin wants to turn Medicare from a popular single-payer program into a system of vouchers for buying overpriced, for-profit insurance, loads of people who had been flirting with Davis are heading towards Hochul.

Hochul Takes Lead in Siena Poll

21 May

Siena Research’s most recent poll in the 26th congressional district, released today, shows Democrat Kathy Hochul taking a 4- point lead over Republican Jane Corwin. Jack Davis’ support has collapsed by half, to 12%. The big story has to do with the candidates’ favorability numbers. Crosstabs here.

Davis, #NY26, and Who’s the Real Tea Partier

20 May

For some reason – perhaps just to annoy Jane Corwin – Jack Davis’ campaign yesterday released the results of a poll showing Davis in second place and Corwin in third.  From Celeste Katz at the Daily News’ Daily Politics:

The Jack Davis campaign late last night said a poll it had commissioned showed Democrat Kathy Hochul in first place in the NY-26 race at 44%, followed by Davis at 27% and Republican Jane Corwin at 17%, with 12% of voters undecided. According to the Davis campaign’s email, which I received at 11:42 p.m., the poll “surveyed 4,602 ‘frequent’ voters most likely to cast a ballot in New York’s 26th District special election” and was conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

I asked several times who conducted the poll and, later, to see the crosstabs, but have not received an answer as I blog this.

“It’s clear that if conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party patriots want to keep Kathy Hochul, a Nancy Pelosi Democrat, from representing this district, they must vote for Jack Davis,” said Davis campaign manager Curtis Ellis in a statement accompanying the poll numbers.

(For the record, a Rochester-area poll of 650 people shows Corwin way out in front. The problem is that only 35% of those polled are registered voters. Fail.)

And I thought about it yesterday – how the tea party schism in western New York, which had its roots in the 2010 Republican primaries for state senate and congress – especially NY-27, NY-28 (the Lenny Roberto / Jill Rowland fiascos), and SD-59 (DiPietro vs. Domagalski vs. Gallivan), has blown up into a full-blown war between the people associated with the Corwin campaign (Palinists Thompson, Roberto) and people associated with the Davis campaign (Ostrowski, DiPietro).

Remember this ad from 2008?

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Well, that’s a shorthand version of the race that Kathy Hochul is running. While Corwin dodges cameras asking her questions about her staff’s poor tracking choices and Davis avoids debating while talking trade, Hochul is quietly consolidating her support in the Buffalo media market, and making sure she grows her name recognition and reputation in the Rochester media market.

I have no idea whether that Davis poll is in any way accurate, but if Saturday’s Siena poll shows Hochul widening her lead against Corwin, all hell will break loose over the next few days. The Republicans never expected that their tried and true strategy of keeping their NY-26 Congressional candidate as far away from media scrutiny as possible might backfire.

I learned yesterday that Corwin might not be as empty a vessel as I had thought, and that she has some very thoughtful positions on some relatively obscure issues, but the people running her campaign don’t let you see that, preferring instead to tightly controlled media appearances, press conferences, photo ops, and official debates.

One of the highlights of any NY-26 race is the candidates’ forum hosted at Clarence Town Hall by the League of Women Voters. The 2006 forum stands out as a particularly well-attended and raucus battle between Reynolds and Davis partisans in the audience.

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The League was unable to schedule such a forum this year because the Corwin campaign claimed never to be available on any of the proposed dates. The Hochul campaign, by contrast, told the League to schedule it, and Kathy would be there.  And I think candidates for congress – who are going to directly be representing a particular set of constituents – should make appearances at these sorts of civic fora so that these prospective constituents can get a sense of who these people are and what they stand for.

Turning back to the tea party schism, a poll commissioned by the New York Times to see who, exactly, makes up that allegedly grassroots right-wing anti-Obama movement shows this:

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”

That pretty much describes Jack Davis to a T. And beyond that, Davis is a self-made man who holds extreme positions on trade and immigration, and he is the true grassroots candidate (albeit moneyed), who had to petition his way onto the ballot without the support of either major party. If you’re talking about the tea party as being some sort of movement made up of people fed up with politics as usual, is that better embodied by the extremely wealthy Republican Assemblywoman who was hand-selected by the party chairs to run as a Republican in NY-26 because she was right out of WNY Republican central casting and could self-fund? Or is it better embodied by the angry, older millionaire who doesn’t care what you think of him, has given both parties the middle finger?

Corwin’s “tea party” credentials are weak. Yes, she’s garnered the support of the Palinists in town, but that’s because they’re just Republicans who want to not participate in the traditional Republican party committee structure. The non-Republican tea partiers are backing Davis. So are many inveterate movement conservatives like David Bellavia. His outspoken, unpolished outsiderishness is what makes Davis’ tea party credentials more credible. He fits the tea party demo. He ran as a Democrat, yes. But only out of cynicism and convenience, to guarantee a ballot slot and to exact his revenge over being snubbed by Dick Cheney.

Do I support Davis? Absolutely not. After his almost inexcusable 2006 implosion, and his treatment of Jon Powers in 2008, I had hoped never to hear from him again.

But as the debate in NY-26 turns on “who’s the real tea partier”, there can’t be any doubt that it’s Davis, not Corwin, who fits that bill.