Tag Archives: Special Election

Leadership Through Tweets

12 Apr

Jane Corwin, who has spent the last couple of years doing bugger-all in Albany, and is now making stuff up about Kathy Hochul instead of touting her weak roster of non-accomplishments, is all over this tough budget stuff that was going down in Washington last week.

Although the budget compromise process in Washington ended on Friday April 8th, on Monday April 12th, Ms. Corwin had just got through “reviewing” it, and instead of offering an opinion or a position or a hint of how she might have voted, she asked her Twitter followers what she should think:

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Literally within hours of the budget compromise being reached, Kathy Hochul released this statement:

“Tonight, with just over one hour before a massive a government shutdown, the United States Congress finally came to a budget compromise.

“For days, I have called on my opponents, Republican Jane Corwin, and Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Jack Davis, to join me in supporting a budget compromise to no avail.  I am thankful Congress has worked through their disputes and finally come to this compromise that cuts spending.  However, I am greatly dismayed at the lack of concern Jane Corwin and Jack Davis have shown on this issue.  Instead of supporting what was right for the people of the 26th District, my opponents chose to play politics and avoid the issue at hand.

“If Jane Corwin and Jack Davis were currently serving in Congress, their apathy towards the budget compromise would have delayed students their loans, seniors their social security benefits, small business owners their loans, veterans their benefits, military men and women their paychecks, and hard working families their tax refunds.

“We cannot allow partisan politics to stand, which is why once elected I will work with all Members of Congress to make sure this fiasco does not occur again.  I will work hard to pass a 2012 budget on time that makes substantial cuts, while still ensuring essential services are not disturbed.  We cannot decimate Medicare and break the promises made to our seniors.”

Like it or not, it’s a thoughtful and well-considered position. Yet four solid days later, Jane Corwin doesn’t know what she thinks about it all. (For the record, neither Jack Davis nor Ian Murphy have offered up any sort of substantive statement on the averted shutdown, either).

Four days later, Hochul continually taunts Corwin for her refusal to take a position on this. She made the point in a tongue-in-cheek release claiming to be the “only candidate to support the Sabres”:

“Now that the regular season is officially over, I congratulate the Sabres on an amazing 40th season and look forward to watching them in the playoffs.  Since my opponents – Republican, Jane Corwin, and Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Jack Davis – have refused to take a position on Congress’s budget compromise, I now call on them to immediately join me in rooting on the Sabres in their run for the Stanley Cup”

I mean, if Davis and Corwin can’t formulate an opinion on the most important thing the Congress has accomplished since this special election process began, it is right for Hochul to call them out and mock them.

This isn’t some silly game like going to Albany as a minority freshman, where frankly you don’t have to be smart or interested to keep getting re-elected. Going to Congress isn’t some jejune exercise that can easily be bought with personal millions just because you have an enrollment advantage.

Corwin continues to prove that it is she, and not anyone else, who is the joke candidate.

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-20: Murphy in the Lead

27 Mar

The fact that Democrat Scott Murphy now enjoys a slim 4-point lead over Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco underscores one very important fact: the Republican Party doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing – not statewide, not nationwide. It isn’t so much a political party as it is a loose confederation of malcontents. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder called the GOP a PINO – party in name only.

This NY-20 race was a test – could the Republicans find a winning message? Could they pull their shit together enough to eke out a win in a district where they enjoy a very large enrollment advantage?

Apparently not.

When you have a special election, it enables the very best and brightest campaign workers in a party to come and help out. After all, there’s not much else to do. Jim Tedisco, who enjoyed a 12-point lead when Gillibrand got sent to the Senate, has suffered negative momentum ever since. Murphy has run a competent campaign built on his credentials as a successful upstate businessman. Sound familiar? It’s what the GOP runs in Erie County.

Tedisco, on the other hand, is an Albany hack extraordinaire. He’s hardly a real Republican, and he’s part of the same Albany machine that everyone mocks and hates. But Tedisco for weeks refused to say how he’d have voted on the Obama stimulus package. Murphy made hay of this:

When Tedisco finally took a stand, the result was this:

and this:

That “that’s an Albany politician for you” line? I’ll bet it gets repeated throughout the state in years to come.

How desperate and pathetic has the losing Tedisco campaign become?

How about trotting out the 9/11 hijackers for a full minute to make a point about the death penalty? Consider the sheer stupidity of talking about the death penalty for suicide bombers.

Or how do push-poll robo-calls strike you? Tedisco is clearly poised to lose and clearly out of ideas. This 9/11 crap and the push polling stuff is a last-minute hail Mary, and it will never work.

As goes Tedisco, so may go Michael Steele.