Tag Archives: jon powers

NY-26 One Day After Lee

11 Feb

First and foremost, I’d like to urge anyone with the last name “Konst”, and anyone pushing a “Konst” for any elected office in Western New York to lose my number, my email address, and my Twitter handle. I am absolutely appalled by the aggressive trial ballooning of Kathy Konst, who abandoned a pretty safe Democratic seat to go work for Chris Collins, setting up an almost impossible election campaign for Diane Terranova, thus paving the way for antidemocratic tea partier Dino Fudoli to win. (Konst left the legislative race too late for her name to be removed from the ballot, and litigation was required to do so. It was a colossal middle finger to the Democratic Party). The notion that Konst, who is working for an authoritarian Republican administration, might be authorized by the Democratic chairs of the counties touching NY-26 is beyond laughable. Erie County has the second-largest weighted vote in the process, and Lenihan wouldn’t advance Konst – even under duress – any sooner than he’d advance Ray Walter. She was just embroiled in a mini-scandal just a couple of short months ago, for God’s sake.

Within minutes of yesterday’s Lee resignation, Konst loyalists were relentlessly pushing the notion that DCCC had already identified Konst as a front-runner for the NY-26 race, and that the chairs of the rural counties were either already behind a Konst candidacy, or were actively pushing for it. In my discussions throughout the day, I discovered that none of this was true. I’m sure they contacted DCCC, but there’s no chance D-trip would go against the wishes of the party chairs. When I tried to put a lid on what was starting to be ignorant speculation by out-of-town media regarding Konst, I was met with aggressive good-cop, bad-cop pushback. (I had one Konst loyalist calling to try to reason with me while another threatened me with a defamation lawsuit – SIMULTANEOUSLY). All done! Good bye! Please don’t ever contact me again! Have a nice day!

So, let’s turn from the race for the Republican seat in Cuckooland to NY-26.

The jockeying yesterday was intense – a Congressional seat is a big get for any political person, for any political faction.

The Reynolds faction was pushing State Senator George Maziarz. However, Maziarz was just recently appointed President pro Tem, which comes with some choice lulus (including a $30k stipend). In addition, Senate President Skelos wasn’t all too happy about losing a member of his caucus when the majority is only 2 seats deep. By the end of the day, a Maziarz candidacy seemed rather unlikely indeed.

The Collins faction was promoting Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, who is a relative newcomer to politics, having used her Talking Phone Book fortune to replace a disgraced Mike Cole. She’s been in the Assembly minority, is a solid Republican, is uncontroversial and well-liked, and is self-funded. It’s a win all around. Even the people who suggestively grunted Paladino’s name for this seat were met with their leader backing Corwin.

There had been talk of Collins running, but he is focused on re-election as County Executive, and frankly he wouldn’t work well as just one freshman member of Congress. His ego is too big, and his elbows are too sharp.

Unalloyed lunatic Jack Davis’ name popped up with the added information that he had recently switched party affiliation to the Republican Party. He has been doing a humorless Willy Wonka act out in Akron since losing the Democratic primary to Jon Powers in 2008. You know the millionaire save-jobs drill, but I can’t imagine the county chairs would authorize Jack Davis over a perfectly reasonable Jane Corwin. Non-starter.

On the Democratic side, apart from the Konst circus I outline above, the stars were beginning to align for County Clerk Kathy Hochul. Sources say she was very interested and was working the phones, looking for pledges of financial and logistical backing.  Mark Poloncarz has also been mentioned, and is still exploring the possibility. Hochul has a good ground operation, a great reputation among Democrats and Republicans alike, money in the bank, President Obama appointed her husband as Assistant US Attorney, her Democratic bona fides are unimpeachable, and she has the ability to raise money. It’s a win all around.

Other names that popped up included Jon Powers, who was very popular in 2008 with the Netroots, and whose candidacy was deliberately torpedoed by a vicious and unscrupulous Jack Davis campaign. The problem is that Powers has lived in DC, promoting veterans’ issues since leaving the area (a bit late in some people’s opinions) in an effort to hand Alice Kryzan his minor party line. Kryzan herself has expressed interest, but she’s 0:2 in regional political campaigns and doesn’t have anywhere close to the base of support that Hochul does. A Working Families Party officer named Sam Williams expressed interest, but let’s be honest – this is a R+6 district, and you can already hear the shouts of “ACORN!!!1!”.

Buffalo-area native and Obama Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was mentioned, but he indicated that it was “unlikely” that he’d enter the race.

But in the end, the Democratic bench for this seat is rather slim. Cuomo has yet to call a special election, but the sooner the parties get their candidates in line, the better.

As for Chris Lee? All evidence of his existence has been scrubbed from his local offices, and he’s hiding out with his extended family in Florida, not taking calls. The Craigslist story has let open the floodgates about old stories, confirmed and rumored, about Lee’s past womanizing. Nobody was ever able to pin them down, but chances are that this wasn’t the first time Lee trolled Craigslist for dates, and that his sudden nationwide notoriety might jog other women’s memories in the greater DC area.

Lee has left his family in tatters, his constituents unrepresented and unserved, and damaged his own reputation. That’s pretty stark, but not irreparable. America loves comebacks and second chances, so long as the wrongdoer expresses the right amount of contrition and does his penance. Don’t count Chris Lee out in the future.

NY-26. The Race is On.

10 Feb

All of sudden, the eyes of the nation fall on Western New York again because yet another prominent local Republican is caught sending some wicked-pervy emails.  It’s so desperate here that some were speculating/hoping that bellicose millionaire street person Carl Paladino might run for NY-26.  No, he doesn’t live in the district, nor does he have to.

Luckily, the Dicker-hater won’t be running.  Can you imagine replacing one pervy emailer with another pervy emailer? Furthermore, Carl would have to move to the suburbs, which he won’t, and he’d have to pay off all of the campaign vendors and workers he’s stiffed so far since the 2010 election which we helped torpedo.

Instead, on the Republican side we have a bit of an internal battle between George Maziarz (who also doesn’t live in the district, but is Tom Reynolds’ guy), and friend-of-Collins Jane Corwin (Republican Assemblywoman-for-life with millions in Talking Phonebook Money).

The Democrats didn’t even really contest the seat in 2010, so they’re somewhat in disarray over whom to put up in a special election for Lee’s seat.

Either way, the race is on.

I have to hand it to Lee for the quickest, most Six-Sigma-efficient political implosion in recent memory.  This morning, no one gave him a second thought.  After lunch, he was the subject of much mockery.  By dinnertime, the guy had resigned from Congress.  BY DINNERTIME. Usually, a guy caught in a sudden scandal will huddle for a few days before slipping the resignation in late on a Friday afternoon.  This came fast.

I had to laugh at the suppositions that this was a set-up or a frame-up.  That shirtless picture of Lee in the mirror was absolutely hilarious, and proved the underlying charge. This is a guy who was born a millionaire, never really worked a real day’s work in his life, and bought his way into Congress with the significant help of a friendly registration advantage.  All he had to do was say “low taxes” and look clean-cut and suburban, and he was a perpetual shoo-in in this suburban and rural district.  Easy peasy.

Instead, he went on Craigslist, betrayed his wife & kid and lied to some random chick all in one fell swoop.  He posed as a 39-year old divorced lobbyist.  He’ll never be 39 again, but he may be a divorced lobbyist sooner than he ever imagined.

Meanwhile, I watched the local media agonize over whether this was real, whether they should run the story, whether it was all fake. I argued with people who insisted that Lee’s personal life was beside the point – as if Lee hadn’t basically marketed himself as the rich clean-cut family guy who goes to church and doesn’t have much time for the gays.

There was no competitive race in 2010.  In 2008, Lee won office against Alice Kryzan, who had herself defeated idiot Jack Davis and Jon Powers in a very tough primary.  Powers is in DC working on behalf of military veterans. Jack Davis is thankfully absent. Kryzan ran for Amherst Town Supervisor but lost to Dr. Barry.  Davis aside, either Kryzan or Powers would have been great representatives for the constituents of the 26th, and wouldn’t have lied and embarrassed themselves.

There is a figurative feeding frenzy going on behind the scenes because a Congressional seat comes up so seldomly, and this is one is seemingly wide open. There’s talk that this district may get wrapped up into another when redistricting comes along, and that Lee has only served to set that in stone.

But in the end, we can take heart in knowing that Chris Lee is a strict adherent to the Republican platform, which defines marriage as being between a man, a woman, and some random chick the man met on Craigslist.

Powers' Law

4 Nov

If you’re a political candidate, and you get a call from the Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy, and he informs you that he’s going to run a story the next day that accuses you of horrible moral turpitude (e.g., you stole money from Iraqi orphans or you’re a racist), you absolutely cannot issue a limp rebuttal and pretend like it will all just blow over.

You have to address the allegation head on, strongly, to take control of the narrative as soon as possible, otherwise your silence/tepid response will be interpreted as a concession of the accusation’s truth.

Not that it was necessarily going to change the outcome, but Michele Iannello broke this law with the WFP/racism charges of last week.  Yes, it may have hurt her chances last night, but more importantly it probably put an end to her career in politics, full stop.

On the other hand, little dumb stuff like, e.g.,  property taxes paid late is ok to ignore until it blows over.

Powers to Campaign with Kryzan Monday

24 Oct

On Monday, Jon Powers and Alice Kryzan will be hitting the pavement and talking to voters in Rochester, Geneseo, Batavia and Williamsville about importance of this election to the working families of Western New York. This is the equivalent of the Democratic dream team campaigning together for change for Western New York.

Schedule of Events
Monday, October 27th

9:30AM: Kick-off in Monroe County
Monroe County Democratic Committee Headquarters
1150 University Avenue
Rochester, NY

11:30AM: Livingston County
SUNY Geneseo with College Democrats
Student Union
1 College Circle
Geneseo, NY

2:00PM: Genesee County
Genesee County Democratic Committee Headquarters
11 City Centre (Genesee Country Mall – across from Sunny’s)
Batavia, NY

4:00PM: Erie County
Kryzan for Congress Volunteer Center
3370 Sheridan Drive
Williamsville, NY

Powers on Service

20 Oct

First off, I’d like to say “stop it” to any Democrat in the 26th District who is reluctant to vote for Alice Kryzan due to some resentment or anger he or she harbors towards Kryzan for anything she did or said during the primary. She won. She’s better than Lee. Enough.

Secondly, there has been much back and forth about Jon Powers’ commitment to this community, and he took the time to respond in comments thusly:

I appreciate your concern over my service to this community and would be happy to discuss it with you. Perhaps we could start with my working with my father as a child volunteering in soup kitchens, cooking hotdogs at the Clarence Day in the Park for nearly 20 years, working with groups doing roadside clean ups in my community, or my Eagle Scout project for battered women shelters here in WNY.

Maybe you’d also like to discuss when I joined ROTC so I could serve this nation both at peace and at war, which included nearly a year and a half in Iraq securing a 50,000 person sector in Baghdad. There’s also the program I worked for while I was substitute teaching, which helped developmentally disabled college students who needed extra tutoring while studying in local colleges.

Sure, I left the area to join the service when I was stationed in Germany and Iraq, but continually wrote to schools here in Clarence when deployed in Iraq and worked with folks at home who sent over 5000 pairs of shoes we delivered to children in Baghdad. You may mock my War Kids Relief efforts, but that would show ignorance in listening to certain opponents attack ads and not the real story or the facts.

Our family has worked and served this community proudly for a long time. I just did not feel it appropriate to discuss this on the campaign trail as I attempted to focus on the community and the problems and solutions that this area and nation need.

I have moved to Washington, DC to work with campaigns all across this nation to help them develop their Veterans Outreach. This is a position I would not be able to obtain while remaining in Buffalo, where I was born and raised and proudly call my home. I will be able to make an impact not only in WNY, but in communities just like WNY all across the nation. I believe this is an incredibly important election year and want to make sure we can bring the real change necessary to get this nation back on track. That is why I am making the sacrifice to move away from my home and family to make a difference, while still working with family to help make an impact at home.

I am sorry you feel the way you do, but perhaps you can get out there and change things in your community instead of mocking those who try. In the words of Robert Kennedy, “we all struggle to transcend the cruelties and the follies of mankind. That struggle will not be won by standing aloof and pointing a finger; it will be won by action, by men who commit their every resource of mind and body to the education and improvement and help of their fellow man.”

If you would like to talk more, please forward your number to Pundit and I would be happy to discuss this in further detail.


Jon Powers

Just wanted to point it out because it happened late on Friday.

Jon Powers Endorses Alice Kryzan for Congress

17 Oct

UPDATE: Jon Powers responds to his critics in comments here.


Over the last 18 months, together, we have worked to call attention to the many challenges Western New Yorkers face. I listened to families struggling because of our weakened economy, soldiers fighting in a war without the necessary equipment and returning without health care they have earned — there is no question that our country is hurting because of Washington’s failed leadership. With just 18 days until Election Day, I write to urge you to vote for change. We have a chance to elect a new Member of Congress to represent the working men and women of Western New York and I hope you will join me in supporting Alice Kryzan for Congress.

Families in Western New York have a clear choice. As our youth are moving out of state to find jobs, do we want a representative who will continue to send our jobs overseas? Or do we want someone who will fight to grow good paying Green-collar and Green-tech jobs that will move Western New York into the 21st Century.

Do we want someone who will continue to fail our veterans and military families or someone who will work to restore honor to our fighting forces?

Do we want someone in Washington to continue the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration or do we want someone who will work toward relieving the tax burden on the Middle Class?

The choice between the two candidates campaigning for the 26th Congressional District is clear for Western New Yorkers, and that is why I am endorsing Alice Kryzan.

Alice will fight for the middle class and work to bring a new generation of jobs back to Western New York. She has signed on to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and will take care of our returning veterans.

Chris Lee talks about a new direction, but clearly supports the status quo. His website fails to even mention veterans or our brave men and women currently fighting in two wars. That, I believe, is proof of his lack of compassion he has for those who are defending our nation.

The choice between Alice Kryzan and Chris Lee could not be clearer for the working families of Western New York. Western New York deserves a representative in Congress who will fight for us.

You can learn more about Alice’s vision for our country at her website http://www.kryzanforcongress.com/

Please volunteer, spread the word, and help us bring real change to Washington by voting for Alice on November 4th.

Powers’ Good-Bye

8 Oct

Jon Powers is and will always be a friend, and I am disappointed that his run for Congress was unsuccessful. I am also disappointed that a bright, brave, and caring young man’s character was improperly, falsely, and viciously attacked. I only wish that he could have responded to the smears more swiftly and strongly.

I still firmly believe that Jon represented a great chance for average, middle-class Western New Yorkers from this district to regain their voice in Congress.

Jon sent out the following today, and I chatted with him at great length about his campaign, his new job, and the political scene as it stands a month out. It was about 14 months ago that I first met him and began actively supporting his candidacy. I will continue to support him and his future works.

By changing his domicile to the DC area and ending his campaign, the Working Families Party line is Alice Kryzan’s for the taking. I wish her the best of luck in defeating the unemployed Chris Lee.



I hope this email finds you well. We have talked a great deal over this last year about how incredibly important this election is to the future of our country. New leadership in Washington will be responsible for navigating us through these challenging economic times, implementing an energy policy that will break our nation’s addiction to foreign oil, and bring our troops home safely, securely, and soon.

As you know, my family and I have been highly invested in this year’s election and believe that each of us has a responsibility to serve this nation in a fashion that can help play a role in the change we need. Each of us is responsible for being part of the solution that will help get our nation back on our feet.

Erin and I know that we still have a role to play in this year’s election. We have decided to take a job opportunity in Washington, DC that will allow us to make an impact on a national level.

I will be working with the Eleison Group to develop Veteran Advisory Councils for Congressional campaigns across the country. This will allow me to help candidates not only understand the issues around the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but put together policies to ensure we are taking care of those who served us. The Veteran Advisory Council provides me an opportunity to engage veterans in Western New York and across the nation to make sure they are working with their local campaigns to provide the critical first hand knowledge that someone who has been in combat brings to the conversation.

We have decided to stop our campaign and I am no longer running for Congress.

We want to thank each of you for your hard work and dedication. Please continue to serve in your community and find a way to get involved in this year’s elections.

This campaign was never about an individual, it was about this community. If you believe that together we have the power to change Washington, then please continue to work toward the dramatic change our country needs.



About Paying Rent Out of Campaign Funds

8 Oct

Remember the flap about Jon Powers’ campaign paying rent for using a home office in Powers’ home when the campaign began?

How is that different from Jack Davis’ campaign paying rent to I Squared R, Davis’ company?

(Click to enlarge)

Jon Powers Postscript

6 Oct

On September 19th – about 9 days after the primary election, I read at TAP that Jon Powers was being offered a job in Washington DC which would not only give him something to do, but also be a way to get his name off the Working Families line.

Evidently, according to the Buffalo News, Powers has “moved out of the state”. Maybe that’s temporary so as to give the WFP line to Kryzan, or maybe it’s permanent. I don’t know. No one has officially heard anything from Jon as far as his future prospects are concerned.

On September 19th, I sent Jon Powers the following email, expressing my hope that he would stay in the area and help make Western New York a better place. I never received a reply. It appears as if some sort of deal was struck because moving out of state was really the only viable option to get Powers off the WFP line.

I hope that, when the dust settles from this election season, Powers considers coming home and making a difference. As we all know, you don’t have to be in government to do that.


I don’t know what you guys are up to, but the rumor is that you’ve been offered a job in DC or something. Either way, people are talking about what your next move will be.

Let me offer you my two cents.

We need you here.

If I was your advisor or campaign manager or whatever, I’d have had you do a joint event with Alice at the latest this past Monday, not only conceding the race, but pledging your support for her, and urging your supporters to get behind her. The race is over. You can’t win on the WFP line, and you’d just potentially spoil Alice’s attempt to defeat Lee and switch the 26th blue. Chances are, after all, that there won’t be a 26th after 2010, so it’s all sort of academic, anyway.

I don’t want you to move to DC because we need people like you here. In WNY. We need you to stay here and keep fighting the good fight. And the “good fight” can be defined in many different ways. It can be as simple as staying here and raising a family. Maybe teaching college students or getting your Master’s or PhD. Whatever it is, I, for one, supported you and believed in you during your campaign because you’re young, energetic, idealistic, smart, and you had come back home to make a real difference.

You can still do that, and you can do it to a great extent and with amazing effect.

We need people with your experience, education, and brains. We need people who are brave and don’t back down from a tough fight – people who will dive in headfirst into an issue. We need Jon Powers to stick around here.

Get a place in Clarence, get involved locally. Maybe run for county leg to replace Ranzenhofer. Maybe run for Assembly in two years’ time. Or not. Maybe just settle down and do something else.

I guess my point is that I really hope you consider staying here as a very real and viable option, and that you stay involved in local politics on some level or another. There aren’t a lot of Democrats in our neck of the woods, and believe me, we need you.

Best, and feel free to call me or email me any time.


Robert Harding Responds to Mike Wrona

13 Sep

Robert asked me to post this here, since no one on TAP knows or cares who Wrona is, but he wanted to put his 2 cents in. I want to also add one point. I had tried to comment on Wrona’s blog, but it only accepts comments from “team members”. In other words, echo chamber only. I have threatened to take comments down altogether unless people are capable of debating without entering into a Hudson-provoked flamewar. No one wants or cares to read through 140 versions of “screw you, no screw YOU!”.

Responding to Mike Wrona Guest Post by Robert Harding

After Alice Kryzan’s primary victory on Tuesday, I went over to see what Mike Wrona had to say. After all, Wrona is a vocal Kryzan supporter and has criticized me for my support of Jon Powers in the past. What I discovered is that, even with his candidate winning, Mike Wrona still wants to divide us instead of unite us.

Wrona wrote a post that called Kryzan a “big winner” on Tuesday. He also decided to take jabs at myself and my friend Alan Bedenko, a fellow blogger and Jon Powers supporter. He also seemed to question whether or not we are progressive. I don’t know how that does anyone any favors in this situation, but it’s not exactly what you should be doing after your candidate wins a primary. Wrona also said that we fell for the “Iraq War veteran label.” There is no “label” when you are a veteran. If you are a veteran, you ARE a veteran. It’s not a label. It’s an honor. Wrona also asserted in that post that the local party leadership in all seven counties picked Powers because of money and “form over substance.” Actually, Wrona is wrong. The four rural counties backed Powers first and it was because he is genuine, listens to voters, is very approachable and personable and wanted to go to Washington to be our representative. He traveled every corner of this district early on and that didn’t change throughout this campaign. So Wrona clearly does not understand why the party leadership backed Powers.

Wrona wrote another post about Kryzan getting the DCCC’s backing. He started off the post by saying “better late than never.” Better late than never? Why would the DCCC back a candidate who showed virtually no fundraising ability after being in the race since September 2007 (technically) and a candidate that was very quiet in this race until about a few weeks before the primary? I remember seeing Kryzan at an event in June. It was the Wyoming County Flag Day Party. I guess she had a few supporters there and that’s where she stayed. I never saw her walk around the room to introduce herself. Whether it was a pro-Powers crowd or not, people still would have greeted her and treated her with respect.

In that same post, Wrona makes a blatantly false claim. He claims that Charlie Mallow, the current chair of the Genesee County Democrats, said he would be supporting Chris Lee in November. This is not true. What Charlie said is in this post on The Batavian. If you notice, there is an update in that post which reads, “Some will seek other options but, the vast majority will sooner or later support her before Election Day. We are Democrats; we have an ideology that puts us more in line with Kryzan than Lee.”

That was his response after he was asked whether or not the county would run away from Kryzan in November. I guess Mike Wrona didn’t like that answer so he decided to make up his own. That’s unfortunate, especially when he also suggests that Charlie’s county committee should act (Charlie has already said that he’s not going to serve as county chair again) as well as the state party AND even the governor. Wrona sure went to great lengths to spread a lie.

I will always be a fan of Jon Powers and most importantly, a friend of Jon Powers. But I have never, EVER been a sore loser. I reached out to Alice’s campaign Wednesday morning and sent along my congratulations. I have been in contact with them and they seem to be very receptive of rural support and maybe even some netroots support. This is not an easy time for me. I will honestly say that I’m not in Alice’s corner yet, but she is a better option than the Republican and she is better than Jack Davis. I can’t just throw away 14 months of support for Jon Powers in only a few days. It will take time to get over this tough loss and then refocus our attention on the key races in our state and in our area.

My suggestion to Mike Wrona would be to be more of a uniter and less of a divider. This isn’t the first time he had posted fabrications on his blog about myself or someone I know. I usually tell Republicans that we can all have our opinions but we can’t have our own version of the facts. I shouldn’t be saying that to someone who touts himself as a progressive Democrat. If Mike Wrona wants his candidate to win, he needs to help Kryzan embrace others who were Powers supporters and Davis supporters. Kryzan won with 41 percent of the vote. That means a majority of Democrats in the 26th did not vote for her. She needs to appeal to these people. I don’t think she wants one of her supporters saying the things Wrona has said. It does her a great disservice when she and her campaign are working hard to try and contact key people in this area, especially rural chairs like Mallow.