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June 7, 2010

NY TIMES: To Avoid Voter Rage, Democrats Skip Town Halls. The reception that Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, received here one night last week as he faced a small group of constituents was far more pleasant than his encounters during a Congressional recess last summer. See state screen


NY TIMES: The End for Rangel Appears Greatly Exaggerated. The 40-year Congressional career of Representative
Charles B. Rangel seemed to come apart over the last year and a half, amid an unrelenting swirl of accusations that he dodged taxes, hoarded rent-stabilized apartments and accepted corporate-sponsored junkets to the Caribbean. Full story
 NY DAILY NEWS: Gov. Paterson leaps onto stage – literally – as he backs Rep. Charles Rangel’s reelection rally. It was a small step for Charlie Rangel‘s political future – but a giant leap for Gov. Paterson. Full story
TIMES UNION: Independence Party picks its AG candidate. Long Island lawyer Stephen Lynch gets nod during brief convention held in Colonie. Unable to agree on a major party candidate, the Independence Party designated a politically little-known lawyer from Long Island as its pick for attorney general. See state screen

 NY DAILY NEWS: Showdown simmering over Independence Party Attorney General nod. The state Independence Party has made “no promises” on backing a candidate for attorney general, well-placed sources insist, setting up New York‘s largest minor party for a possible showdown between its main benefactor and its new standard-bearer. Mayor Bloomberg, an Indy ally and donor, made it clear he wanted Row C to go to Republican Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan. Instead, the party went with a placeholder candidate in what was viewed by observers as a snub to the mayor. See state screen

TIMES UNION: GOP seeks fiscal edge. Republicans try to exploit U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy’s support of stimulus spending, health care bill Last year, U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy campaigned hard on reviving the economy with help from a $787 billion federal stimulus bill. But that strategy may hurt his chances for re-election.
Full story


NY POST: Paterson plays budget chicken. If state lawmakers think today’s vote on slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in health-care spending from the state budget is a tough one, wait until next Monday. It’ll only get worse.  That’s the message from Gov. Paterson’s emboldened administration, which is vowing to escalate its new and unprecedented tactic of putting major spending cuts into the weekly “extenders” that have kept the state functioning without a completed budget since April 1. See state screen

NY POST: NY passes students who get wrong answers on tests. When does 2 + 2 = 5? When you’re taking the state math test. Despite promises that the exams — which determine whether students advance to the next grade — would not be dumbed down this year, students got “partial credit” for wrong answers after failing to correctly add, subtract, multiply and divide. Some got credit for no answer at all. “They were giving credit for blatantly wrong things,” said an outraged Brooklyn teacher who was among those hired to score the fourth-grade test. Full story



DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE: The conventions are over, but Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for a number of primaries this September.
This unusual political season, in which New Yorkers will choose officeholders for every statewide post, includes Republican primaries for governor and both U.S. Senate seats, and a five-way race on the Democratic side for attorney general. Primary day is Sept. 14. Full story


DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE: Proposal to expand DNA database sparks debate. Gov. David Paterson is backing a wide-ranging expansion of the state’s DNA database to include all people convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime, a measure that raises the concerns of privacy advocates. Full story





A Few Things
UPDATES: For Governor and AG, WFP Goes Placeholder Route The party picked Kenneth Schaeffer, an attorney for Legal Aid and a party loyalist, for governor; Elon Harpaz, also a Legal Aid attorney, for lieutenant governor; and Amy Young, a CWA attorney, for attorney general. Cantor said in a statement that, “These outstanding individuals have shown a longstanding commitment to working families and they are the best candidates currently available. That said, they are all team players, and should stronger candidates emerge, WFP members may revisit Sunday’s decisions. …

Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy wrote, in his well read Sunday column, the GOP conclave last week was “A Great Convention.” No doubt the Buffalo News would have us believe such dribble because the Buffalo News & McCarthy are so far left they can’t see right.
The truth is if it was a “great convention”, it was a great convention for one reason its entertainment value. Nothing substantive came out of the convention (esp. GOP/Conservative values via life & traditional family … paradoxically, except from Paladino whose message gets lost because most people are looking for a good laugh rather than sound public policy when Paladino takes the stage), including the endorsements with the exception of Harry Wilson for Comptroller; not to mention a possibility of a mortally wounded GOP Chairman Ed Cox.
Most of the entertainment was provided by Carl Paladino & his forces.
Any time Roger Stone, a gentlemen whom I have worked closely, & Mike Caputo are in the same room the entertainment value of the event goes up exponentially. I keep going back to Bush one’s Secretary of State Jim Baker’s retort when he realized there was going to be a real street fight in Florida via the “chad” affair in 2000. Baker said & I quote, “Call Roger Stone.”
Look the truth is from a substantive point of view nothing good came out of the GOP convention. We agree with the NY Post’s Fred Dicker, et al. the convention was a disaster for the GOP.
The NYS Independence Party endorsed Andrew Cuomo for governor. Schumer & Gillibrand for the U.S. Senate. Harry Wilson (R) was the token cross-endorsment for State Comptroller. Stephen J. Lynch (I),(D), a 59-year-old attorney from Southampton, who is a longtime partisan, was nominated from the floor of the party’s convention for AG. The convention could not decide on Rice or Donovan for AG so Chairman MacKay says the line will be revisited in September.  …

Right now the November election for NYS state governor has all the flavor of being anti climatic. Cuomo is so far ahead in polling, juxtaposed with no clear viable candidate on the GOP side, one cannot see any circumstance, unless Cuomo commits a fatal gaffe like Paladino & his emails, that would preclude him from winning in November. Of course there is all the talk of going negative to the extreme; we do NOT believe that is a sound strategy in this environment, paradoxically.

Steve Levy is toast. His overture about creating a third party is face saving.

Paladino says he is going to spend $500K to get 15,000 valid GOP signatures to primary Lazio. One reason for the decision is Conservative Party’s Lorigo gambit to get Paladino on the line should Lorigo win the primary. We wrote back when that the danger Paladino had is becoming the entertainment in the race, putting it politely. He has become exactly that entertainment, hardly anyone is listening to his message any more. People listen to hear his next Stone like barbs directed at his opposition. Paladino’s campaign is over he just doesn’t know it; this with continued reports of strife within his inner circle.
GOP chairman Ed Cox has floundered in his first few months as chair. The democrat Levy endorsement was just nuts. The fact is the vote of “no confidence” with respect to Cox was addressed when Levy only received 29% of the vote to make the ballot & then failed to get the 50.1% for the authorization.
Bottom line is the GOP had a real chance to make inroads statewide this cycle. Now, other than Harry Wilson, the state races are a fait accompli. However, there still is a chance for the GOP to regain control of the Senate. We believe this is where Cox should be putting the state committee’s resources. If Cox is smart & plays a key role in regaining the Senate he saves his chair. Keep in mind redistricting is the prize for whoever holds the Senate!
Sidebar: Senator Antoine Thompson, 60th, is announcing today (Saturday), in spite of the Buffalo News & Channel #2 vacuous diatribes Thompson will win both the primary & general going away!
It is our firm belief that the Conservative & Working Families Party’s could lose their lines this year not garnering the 50,000 votes for gov to retain the lines. Lorigo has put the Conservative line in jeopardy, albeit we respect his platform. If Cuomo doesn’t accept the WFP line the line is lost.

Newly minted Erie County Chair Nick Langworthy has set himself up to fail. Langworthy is married to the Paladino campaign. Actually, Langworthy has become a political Polygamist. He married to a number of campaigns when in fact he should have done what most successful chairman do & not in fact put his Chair on the line in every race via Paladino, et al. These are all Republicans in these state & local primary races. Nick seems to have forgotten that fact. Please keep in mind Langworthy is still Chairman of the Lee campaign & at this point that looks like his only guaranteed winner. We support Nick 100%; but he needs to reevaluate.
Pat Gallivan, R (who is only endorsed by the Independence Party) has emerged a very serious contender in the 59th Senate district. The GOP is blessed with three great candidates; this is the premier race right now.
Senator Mike Ranzenhofer, 61st,  has little to worry about with the Dems running Marc Coppola; does he even live in the district.
Not far behind is the race in the 58th. We continue to hear RUMORS that Stachowski will step down & Assemblyman Mark Schroeder will enter the race. He will primary his former ally County Legislator Tim Kennedy further fragmenting the Higgins team. Then there is Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak; who is said to be County Chair Lenihan’s favorite for the race. Whoever the Dem candidate is this race in will be very completive with Assemblyman Jack Quinn on the GOP line.
Former Erie County IP Chairman Steve Pigeon’s fingerprints are all over these races. Steve has put himself as a real power in Erie County once again. Pigeon while his guy in Albany is having legal problems continues to make inroads into the endorsement process in both the IP & Conservative parties, Barbara Miller Williams being elected Chair of the Legislature & Jack O’Donnell Chairman of the Water Authority sure didn’t hurt; although both were the work of a coalition of Lenihan enemies.
This is also true of Mayor Byron Brown. The Mayor’s deputy Steve Casey has enjoyed a number of clear victories over the last year; Joe Golombek will defeat Sam Hoyt & that will be icing on the cake. Casey’s name along with Water Authority Jack O’Donnell name is being floated to replace Len Lenihan as Erie County Democratic Chairman. This for the most part  is all about replacing Lenihan but to date there is no certainty of a  candidate out there to run against him.
Legislator Dan Kozub has the democratic endorsement for Quinn’s Assembly seat, 146th. We expect Dan to do very well considering the overlay favoring Dems in the district. Then there is Stocker vs Schimminger; the overlay so favoring the Dems I cannot see a change there. Besides with Schimminger as Chair of the development committee that bodes wells for getting our projects completed. Not sure what is going on with the DelMonte race in Niagara County. All of this will get sorted out when the political operatives paid & otherwise hit the streets in a few days to get petitions signed.
The question becomes who will be appointed to replace Kozub on the Legislature; we continue to hear Fran Warthling.
We continue to believe there will be a two for two cross endorsements with respect to the Supreme Court court races, leaving one race. Democrats Justices Dillon & Fahey for Voelkl & Wojtaszek, we’ll see. Still very fluid! Right now we expect OP Justice Deborah Chimes (R) to run against one the Dem contenders.
We favor Ken Case in the Erie County court race. Case prosecuted the Bike Path Rapist.  Ken has prosecuted many high profile cases and has spent almost every day  of his last 20 years in county court.   Many are wondering if Lenihan endorsed McLeod to help him secure his chairmanship this year which is in question?   Case has been endorsed by Republican, Conservative, WFP and we believe the IP. He is the favorite in the County Court judge race in November. 
County Executive Chris Collins, Chris Grant Chief of Staff, continues to run the best run government in NYS, one of the best in the nation. His settlement of the CSEA contract was masterful. The County is running surpluses year after year. The County is getting out of the entitlement business, etc. Our only disagreement with the administration is with Bass Pro (read below). We believe the downtown & harbor planners should be concentrating more on the County’s convention business with an eye on constructing a new building during Collins next term. No one is going to defeat Collins in 2011. Let us restate our belief because of his accomplishments in his first term Collins runs the risk of getting bored on the job in his 2nd term! Quite a good place to be!
The Tea Party movement in WNY has become a joke thanks to people like Russ Thompson. Its all about the camera & microphone!

EMAIL: “Joe, although I was not there, I think the Republican convention was exactly what it should have been.
Politics is like making sausage, as they say. Democracy in action and, as you said, entertaining.

Giving it a glass more than half full view, and speaking purely as a layman in a nanny state with the enrollment we have (or don’t have), and an overwhelmingly liberal, monopolized mainstream media, we have the following: great candidates in Harry Wilson for Comptroller and Dan Donovan for AG. I haven’t met Dan yet but Harry is what NYS needs in the Beancounter seat–the guy will be great as Comptroller.

Add Jack Quinn and Jim Domagalski/Pat Gallivan for Senate, and the re-election of Mike Ranzenhoffer. With George Maziarz–what a great WNY delegation. And one of the brightest stars in the Assembly in Jane Corwin (not to mention Jim Hayes).

Then, Chris Lee–one of the most astounding elected officials I know.

We also have excellent candidates in several other races, too numerous to mention, but note Supreme Court with Voelkl, Chimes, Wojtaszek (and now Mark Rodgers). And Jill Rowland for Congress–a doctor running against the Slaughter Solution.

Hey, look at the results in not just Virginia, but several “blue” jurisdictions: Taxachusetts, Nassau County and New Jersey.

And let’s not forget that we also have the best run County administration in NYS with an outstanding Republican, Chris Collins and the Republican members of the Erie County Leg. (Rath, Mills, Dixon, Fudoli, Walters).

In short, and at the very least–we have the near future for our elected officials to continue to clean up Erie County; and the Republicans take the State Senate back, Comptroller and the AG–in the bluest big state in the Union.”



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