Saturday, October 31, 2009

So Much for Accuracy

CBS...once known as the Tiffany Network.....says DeDe is backing Hoffman
Running 3rd in N.Y. Race, GOP Drops Out - CBS News

Day's Inn Hosts Conservatives

I had the pleasure of welcoming a room full of political tourists to Watertown tonight.
They were with the Susan B. Anthony List, a group of pro-lifers in town to help with the candidacy of Doug Hoffman for Congress. Former US Rep. Marilyn Musgrave was there and spoke about the need to work diligently in the coming days handing out literature and waving signs near polling places.
Its a fervent group, happy over the withdrawl of Diedre Scozzafava from the race, but realizing their goal of a more conservative country hinges on winning Tuesday.
Like with any group there is varying degrees of true believers.....but most seemed like your neighbors just trying to make a difference and preserve an America they love. Hard to argue with that.
The common theme among the varied groups supporting Hoffman is not abortion, gay marriage, or even card check.
The issue is fiscal restraint and deficits. The notion that we are now talking about trillions of dollars like it was nothing. These folks realize that fiscal sanity is what will ensure life as we know it.
I was glad I went. Wonder what hotel ACORN is staying at?

Scozzafava's Slide..But Her Job is Not Done

The demise of the Scozzafava campaign has been in the works for weeks.
Insiders say it began over the summer when after county chairs endorsed her, there was no urgency to fundraising as the assault from the Right was not seen. The same Pataki people advising her campaign were the ones spreading the myth that the Conservative Party would let its line go dark this year.
The campaign also never was supported by or sought the support of local party leaders. Events were amateurish and the candidate was left to stand alone at too many functions.
Scozzafava's strong suit was knowledge of issues specific to the area and her staff avoided the venues where she could shine. Her views were caricatured and by the time she started moving right she was too far gone.
The refusal to repudiate the radical Working Families Party told many that she would take it if she could get it and many folks did not want an ACORN candidate.
The incident in Lowville with the 911 call was the point of no return. Up until then, I thought she had a chance. When I read the accounts from Weekly Standard publisher Bill Kristol, I knew the campaign was toast.
Scozzafava no doubt feels let down, but it was a campaign done in by many factors, not the least of which was the method of selection. Having to merely win the favor of four of eleven county chairs did not mirror the nation's mood in this summer of town hall meetings and tea parties.
I think the sophistication and national implications of the campaign baffled her.
She did the right thing in standing down, and at this late date the other candidates will fight for the scraps.
I would say the DeDe I heard speak at the WSYR debate and the HOTLINE appearance was talking the moderate to conservative views that Doug Hoffman stands for.
Committment to the military, private sector job creation, opposition to ObamaCare and cap 'n trade.
There are a couple of issues outstanding, but in politics we all learn to reconcile our differences for the common good.
We will see what she does in the coming hours. I don't think just walking away completes her obligations as the candidate of a major party for a major office.

Yikes ! Issues...Answers...What a Novel Idea

For the folks who like issues here is a list of responses published on the blog of Notre Dame grad Jude Seymour. All three candidates responded, but of course Ms. Scozzafava has suspended her campaign and ask her supporters to choose someone else on Tuesday.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Failure to Endorse May Help Owens

The decision to suspend her campaign for Congress was a smart move as to continue would have meant an especially large fall from grace for the popular local lawmaker. She was on track to finish a distant third in the raucous three-way race in NY23. At one time polls showed her the frontrunner. The question now is do her supporters learn about her decision in time to change their vote Tuesday ? She is still on the ballot and the many absentee votes for her stand.
Since many of Scozzafava supporters were local Democrats who liked her personally....the Ted Ford types.....those votes will go to Owens, while some GOP regulars who clung to the nominee may go to Hoffman. This move ensures the winner will not be in the 30s, but in the 40s.
In recent days the Hoffman campaign has been approaching key Republicans and there was talk the last 48 hours of finding a way to let Scozzafava down gently as the party elite prepared to leave in an effort to hold a seat the GOP has held since Reconstruction.
The departure of DeDe and the arrival Monday of Vice President Biden gives a strong push to Bill Owens, who continues to be a relatively unknown trial lawyer from Plattsburgh.
However, the Hoffman campaign has been shrewd up till now.
Her gracious statement of departure allows Scozzafava dignity that is deserved. She performed well on the issues when she had to, but was trying to run an Assembly race in a Congressional district. Her views were inconsistent too many times with too many people in this year of town hall meetings and tea parties.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Siena Showa Dead Heat Between Hoffman and Owens..DeDe Votes in Play ?

As expected the Siena College poll of the NY23 shows a dead heat between Bill Owens and Goug Hoffman with Republican nominee Diedre Scozzafava a distant third
The numbers are Owens 36%...Hoffman 35 %.....Scozzafava 20% with 9% undecided. There is a 3.7% margin of error.

How We Got TheThree Candidates Explains the Race

In this special, off-year election of a Member of Congress, it is good to remember how did we get the three candidates now on the ballot ?
Because John McHugh was going to resign to take his post as Secretary of the Army, events were set in motion that put three names on a ballot...names not really vetted or ratified by the people registered in the party they represent.
Democrat Bill Owens has never been involved in elected office and appeared suddenly to sweep away the field at a closed door meeting of Democratic Chairs held this summer in Blue Mountain Lake, a scenic but remote spot not known for its bevy of political analysts. After the meeting, Owens refused to talk to the only TV crew there from News 10 Now.
There was no announcement of meetings of local people and organizng of a opportunity for primary (thats the way the law is for a special). How did 11 county chairs spontaneously ratify the choice of such an unknown?.
The only rationale explanation is word from on high (Whte House). Mr. Owens was the pick of the folks who engineered the vacancy and he was their pick to take the seat...the man they wanted to put their money behind.
On the Republican side, the candidate was better known for sure, but Diedre Scozzafava's designation again came without any kind of scrutiny or vetting that occurs when there is a primary. In her case the closed door meeting of county chairs came in Potsdam where weighted voting is used. Each chair casts a number of votes based on votes cast in a recent election.
I am told on the first ballot, three chairs from Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Clinton counties backed Scozzafava. That amounted to 48% of the vote. Challenger Matt Doheny had the bulk of the remainder with a favorite son candidate from Franklin County, Paul Maroun, preventing a majority for either.
On the third ballot, the impasse was broken by Lewis County, and she was the designee. One would think the two issues that have dogged her (too liberal, can't raise enough money) could have been sorted out in a primary. Instead, four people picked her.
Now, all of this was within the rules set. The issue is the legitimacy of the choices.
As for the minor parties, its even less inclusive.
Conservative nominee Doug Hoffman is the result of one man, Chairman Michael Long, saying "enough already" and refusing to cross endorse what he saw as an egregiously liberal GOP nominee. Long picked Mr. Hoffman and submitted the paperwork to put him on Line D.
The Independence Party State Chair Frank MacKay has the power over multi-county districts as well, and had planned to endorse Darrel Aubertine as part of a plan to remove the popular state senator from Albany so the GOP could win back the 48th District. When Aubertine bowed out, who got the nod was less consequential, and Ms. Scozzafava was named. Most of the counties in the 23rd have no chairs or active organizations. The move was run by Joe Baruth in Lewis and me in Jefferson, although I am not on the County Executive Committee. We both agreed it was a good choice, as we both knew her and she was local.
In the Working Families Party....much the same. One or two people in NYC control the line and the issuing of cross-endorsements. It is no surprise Bill Owens is the nominee as the party virtually always does Democrats, except for the now infamous endorsements of Ms. Scozzafava in her Assembly races. Those endorsements, while not noticed at the time, are a big part of what made Scozzafava toxic to Chairman Long.
Well, the point is not to suggest anyone has done anything wrong, or that any of these three are bad people.
Just remember, that when people talk of the party's candidate, they are not talking about a large number of like-thinking people hearing from and deciding on a candidate to represent them.
This is about a very closed and restrictive process where the choice you get is controlled by a very few.

Friday, October 30, 2009

In Inshift, GOP leaders embrace Hoffman

Not all Republicans are this fickle....I was talking to one tonight who said he would rather shake hands with the devil (Owens) than vote for Doug Hoffman.....So then I asked my favorite question.....Ted Ford would vote for a turnip if it were the Democratic nominee....Would you vote for a turnip if it were the Republican nominee ? The answer I got was "YES".
Now that's party loyalty !
In shift, GOP leaders embrace Hoffman - Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar -

History Question....No Controversy Here

With Joe Biden coming to town, the question has been raised, who is the last President or Vice President to visit the City ?
I think President Grant stayed at the Woodruff and I know Presidents have visited the county. Is there anyone else ?

The NRCC Concedes Defeat in NY-23 - Erick’s blog - RedState

DC GOP Does as I said on the HOTLINE today.....No more anti-Hoffman spots as the party tries to at least stop the Democrat from winning.
The NRCC Concedes Defeat in NY-23 - Erick’s blog - RedState

Blue Collar Joe Will Try to be Mariano Rivera & Close the Deal

Joe Biden, the guy from hardscrabble Scranton PA and Wilmington DE is a good choice for a closer to the campaign of Bill Owens.......Mr. Owens has been running as the surrogate for the White House and Mr. Biden will be able to appeal to the blue collar roots of many in the western half of NY23.....The message to local Democrats is don't vote for Scozzafava, whom they the President and the Party and go with Owens.
Biden to NY 23 - Ben Smith -

Rice to Indy's: Vote for Doug

Don't pay attention to that ballot.....Even though Diedre Scozzfava has the endorsement of the Independence Party, Jefferson County Chair John Rice today told the Daily News' Liz Benjamin not to vote for her but instead vote for Conservative nominee Doug Hoffman. Rice is a liquor store owner just like NYS Conservative Chair Mike Long used to be for many years......Must be they felt a bond.
The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

All This Waiting and No Poll

With news the Siena Poll is being held till the weekend, I of course wonder why. The poll seems reputable but the fellow running it is often on talk shows as a Democratic operative. I am always suspicious of people in that kind of multiple role.

With it now conventional wisdom that Diedre Scozzafava cannot win the election comes news that DC Republicans like Michael Steele have ordered the NRCC air no anti Hoffman spots on behalf of Scozzafava. NRCC head Rep. Pete Sessions says Hoffman will be welcome in the caucus and former Governor Pataki is among GOP royalty now backing Hoffman.

Locally, Republican leaders say they are realigning as a new dynamic in local politics becomes evident.

If Hoffman wins this is a huge national story. I read a good Gormanism today. "Gettysburg is not's just the place the two armies met." True, but when NNY becomes a metaphor for national trends, that is interesting.

Meanwhile the Democrats are pulling out the stops with anti-Hoffman mailings and commercials. The man they liked when he was splitting the GOP is on the verge of winning and Democrat Bill Owens only has two announced Jefferson County supporters....Sean Hennessey and Samantha from the HOTLINE. Even Dan Francis today endorsed DeDe.

The weekend will be interesting and between the high turnout and the new voting machines, Tuesday could be a day for lawyers not seen since Florida 2000. Hang on to your hats !

Musings While Waiting for Sienna

=In the Scozzafava campaign, waiting for the results of the Sienna poll is a bit like waiting for a diagnosis...You hope for the best and brace for the worst.
Other polls released this week have been grim and her campaign and media supporters have been able to tamp them down as bad or biased sampling.
Sienna is dfferent...Its the indepedent poll that everyone has been quoting...For better or worse, it will be taken as gospel today.
-Here's an idea that I bet Ms. Scozzafava is glad didn't get implemented. GOP insiders say the campaign wanted to have a man in a chicken suit at that dinner in Lowville...They couldn't find anyone to wear it....The idea was her opponents were too chicken to debate.
-Just about everyone says the moment in the campaign when the GOP effort veered off the road was the infamous 911 call on the Weekly Standard reporter.
To a person, operatives and experienced reporters say that was a disaster among many in a campaign that will be remembered for some time to come.
-Last night's TV debate was good optics for Hoffman as he was pictured with the major party candidates...That may be why he steered clear of many debates.....The picture was worth a thousand words. Good thing, because on words, Mr. Hoffman demonstrates he is not a politician. The lack of glibness and specificity hurts in some quarters but frankly his outsider status may help with others.
-The debate, the candidates and the voters were not served by the moderator at WSYR....Dan Cummings seemed intent on being remembered himself for asking tick-tock type questions about why no debates or aren't you just a tool of the people paying for your campaign....It's funny when broadcasters get all sanctimonious about outside money while they salivate over the prospect of getting some of it. A good moderator should not be a participant....He tried and it didn't serve anyone but himself.


Its always interesting when the annual sign theft allegation is made in at least one race. The best placement of signs is firmly planted in front of a nice home. A sign that makes a statement to those who see it. The worst is when signs are peppered alongside vacant or commercial property or in the public right of way.
In more politically rough and tumble areas downstate, it is considered the thing to do to send hordes of people out to rip down signs enmasse....As long as they are the ones along highways and they are properly disposed of, this is actually a public service.
There don't seem to be a lot of signs in Watertown this year.
Next Wednesday, nobody will care who takes who's signs.
Watertown Daily Times Candidate accuses opponent of removing campaign signs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Upbeat News Gives Way to More bad News.

The crowd of about ten or so people with whom I watched the Congressional debate on TV 50 were mostly of the opinion that like the HOTLINE two days ago, Diedre Scozzafava turned in a solid performance and overall did the best.
Scozzafava was able to use her knowledge gathered during years in government.
Democrat Bill Owens continues to look the part of a Congressman, and effectively barked out party talking points with a well modulated voice.
Conservative Doug Hoffman uttered the tone of the Reagan years but also speaks in a halting manner and stumbled over a gotcha question about the International Joint Commission.
DeDe's night was ruined by another poll showing her campaign doing poorly .
It all got worse when eleven GOP Members fo Congress backed Hoffman and then former NY governor George Pataki decided to weigh in.
Friday, the Sienna Poll resutls are in and that could be the final straw.

Daily KOS Poll Shows Hoffman Surges to Dead Heat With Owens

It looks like it will be either Doug Hoffman or Bill Owens as our next Member of Congress. A new poll from liberal blogger Daily KOS shows another surge by Hoffman and a collapse by Republican candidate Diedre Scozzafava. The GOP candidate polls at 21%. This poll corroborates other surveys by the Club for Growth. All eyes will be on the Sienna College poll to be released tomorrow.
By all accounts the quietly run but very effective Hoffman efffort based in Saranac Lake is on the verge of the biggest upset certainly in local politics. Mr. Hoffman, if he wins will have replicated the 1970 US Senate victory of James Buckley, who ran solely on the Conservative Party line.
Hoffman today announced a rally Monday at Watertown's Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall featuring country music star John Rich. Numerous other events are planned. A robust advertising schedule is filling local airwaves and a massive ground operation is in place with 150,000 potential voters identified and targeted.
The scope of the campaign is only now becoming known after weeks of steady climbing in polls. Numerous third party groups like the Susan B. Anthony fund are heavily involved as well with staffers having flown in from Virginia.
The remaining question is how will the Scozzafava campaign react to increasinly dire news and no apparent way out of their dilemma.
Dead heat between Owens, Hoffman - The Scorecard -

Ready..Aim...Fire....Last Salvos Fly in Syracuse ..Debate Airs Tonight

A couple of good things will come out of todays three-way debate at WSYR-TV in Syracuse.
-We won't have to hear the tortured explanations from operatives about why this or that candidate can't make a debate.
-We won't have to hear the media (or in my case pseudo, faux media) carry on about how the public loses from the lack of discourse.
-The event, while technically out of the district, will be conducted by media without a dog in the fight.

So what else will todays showdown yield ?

The gist of this election is whether voters want to take a chance on a non-traditional with no elected office experience and no experience representing constituents.
At City Hall, our 26 year old fill-in councilman, Jason Burto, has served two of four months he will be in office. Jason has more legislative experience than Bill Owens and Doug Hoffman combined.
That might seem frightening and certainly an experienced lawmaker like Diedre Scozzafava is trying to make that case.
That case didn't carry the day in the neighboring 20th CD which had a special election earlier this year, but there is value in expereience , even though that experience can make one a defender of a government many are fed up with.
In todays debate, look for Scozzafava to be aggresive and use every opportunity to demonstrate conversancy on the terraine and issues of the 23rd.
On the other hand....isn't there always another hand, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman's message is not about the little things that Congressional offices do....

Mr. Hoffman is running a campaign on broad brush idealogical principles in a nation where people have had enough of politics as usual. A quiet, unassuming man from modest roots, he is a self-made man who ran because he believes in faith, family, flag and fiscal restraint and doesn't see much of that in DC. A Jimmy Stewart type.

Bill Owens is not running an 'I'm Mad as Hell' campaign...His demeanor is anything but.... . Mr. Owens is running as the Barack Obama surrogate and people will or will not vote for him solely on whether they want a Democrat in the seat.
Mr. Owens will likely stick to the party line...Bush tax care reform....Jobs, Jobs, Jobs....

Mr. Hoffman has been assailed in Watertown media as unqualified in what appears a coordinated effort to discredit him. Hoffman must show an ability to represent people because that will be his primary job if elected. He needs to appear confident and at least have a cursory knowledge of the big issues.
This race is essentially over and this debate is the chance for the new candidates to reassure and the experience politician to demonstrate this is not a job for beginners.
-Can Scozzafava rattle Hoffman and catch him on a matter of fact that the MSM can amplify for a couple days ?.
-Can Hoffman assure voters who like his "everyman" mystique, that he understands what a Member of Congress does?
-Can Owens keep the Democratic regulars in line and motivated to vote for a man few know ?
We will know before the first pitch in tonights World Series game.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Watertown Dissed Again !

The largest city in the Congressional was once again passed over as two of the three candidates debated tonight across the lake from Burlington, VT...... Watertown, which is also the only media market wholly contained in NY23 has not been the sight of any forums. A televised debate will be held tomorrow outside the district in Syracuse.....Let's just get down to voting and skip the rest of this dance.
Scozzafava vs, Owens in Debate at SUNY Plattsburgh

Olive Garden Restaurant Manager (Watertown, NY) Job in Watertown 13601, New York US

The most asked question in Watertown may soon be answered.....
Olive Garden Restaurant Manager (Watertown, NY) Job in Watertown 13601, New York US

Is It a Two Man Race ?

More than one in the national press is now saying the insiders claim its a two way race in NY23 between Doug Hoffman and Bill Owens. There's still a lot of variables in the race, particularly the number of Democrats in the western end who cross over to Scozzafava since she is the one they know, and Owens has engaged in a stealth campaign compounded by lack of media attention. His strategy is clear...slip in with a split GOP by getting the baseline Democratic vote.
The buzz favors Hoffman and he seems to be peaking on time, but while his team claims the best ground game, the truth wont be known till Tuesday.
All of this places extra attention on two events...Tomorrows WSYR debate in Syracuse....and the Sienna College poll to be released Friday which will be taken as the Holy Grail of pre=election predictions.
The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

The Brave New World of Political Discourse Comes to NNY

A generation ago, a hotly contested Congressional race like the one in NY23 would be seen through the prism of the afternoon paper....the WWNY 6PM newscast.....The morning radio news on 790....and if you are an activist maybe a dinner or a rally.
You relied on party loyalty and the agenda was set by the party (Republican) and the media (Watertown Daily Times).
What a difference a generation makes.
Yesterday a group of Lewis County folks stopped by after work and as we chatted about our local race, Neil Cavuto was in high definition splendor interviewing the governor of Minnesota about why a man nobody heard of six months ago should be our next Member of Congress....Later John Boehner was on plugging for Scozzafava.....On MSNBC they were crowing about a Bill Owens win being a validation of the Obama administration and the hijacking of the GOP by teab------.
On the Internet, the NY Times top story was about us. Same in the LA Times.
The many activist sights like Susan B. Anthony and Redstate America are all talking.
Two of the campaigns have high-tech voter ID programs reaching six figure numbers of people....categorizing them and following up with phone calls, personal literature drops or lawn signs.
My friend Otis says he got an e-mail from the President ! And you probably cannot count the Tweets resulting from all this.
War rooms are set up in local hotels. Databases perused and massaged. Direct mail is being sent by all sorts of third party advocacy groups.
Robo-calls are incessant. Radio and TV buys are ocurring in half a dozen media markets all touching parts of the sprawling district.
Paid and volunteer help hit the streets hanging full color glossies on doors.
Blogs are written with information, opinion, leaks, and lies. The blogs are read by old media and posted by popular aggregators like
There's air wars and ground battles, and one campaign is promising the equivalent of shock and awe this weekend.
There are polls, internal and external.
There is media, seeing the polls and seeing the people turn against their editorial wishes.
There are people with little training or standards acting as news gatekeepers on the net and the public seeks out the cable channel that best provides an echo chamber for their views. National talkers repeat information and misinformation without knowing the difference.
Against all of this, next Tuesday the will of the people will be expressed in an election. For the most part the voter has a chance to be be well informed in the Brave New World of Internet media...But as they said on Hill Street Blues..."be careful out there."
There are a few voters who get it all the old fashioned way. For them, they barely know a race is happening. For the rest of us its like a pinball game to watch....until Tuesday when the ball goes down the chute and we look up to see the score.

Patty Plate's Petition Goes Viral

Wow....looks like Patty Ritchies petition drive to halt the crazy plan to force everybody in NY to buy new license plates is hitting the radar of the MSM. Other clerks are picking up on the effort...Looks like Patty Plate will get some mileage out of the effort. She is widely thought to be considering a run for State Senate next year. Democrats have privately been dismissive of Ms. Ritchie, saying they hope she is the GOP candidate next year.
Ritchie is currently St. Lawrence County Clerk and ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2002.
Putting brakes on new plates -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY:2796:

Bomax Building a Scar on our Front Door

The area surrounding the Salmon Run Mall is certainly a retail hub for the region and the appearance of the neighborhood leaves an impression on visitors.
Just as it has been a challenge to fix up downtown, something needs to be done with the blighted property that used to house Bomax.. This building on outer Coffeen Street is falling apart before our eyes and is open to the elements and even worse open to anyone else who wants to go inside.
Too often environmentalists and state agencies are all worked up over traces of chemicals or petroleum found on or in the ground. In this case the pollution is the structure and it should be repaired or removed.
On their way to the recent dedication of County Route 202, officials should have taken a peak at this building.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scozzafava Makes Her Case Effectively in Radio Interview

So we are a litmus test and a proving ground for potential Presidential candidates. I though we were just filling a vacant House seat.
For an hour today it seemed just a local race as Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava handled with skill the questions of yours truly and those of the callers on the HOTLINE program.
The audio is now availble on
The subject matter was wide ranging and there was talk of issues as well as the tick-tock of this interesting three way race. Even supporters of opponent Doug Hoffman complimented the job done by DeDe.
As a mayor and a Member of Assembly, Scozzafava is able to draw on facts and experience to answer questions.
Wonder why she didn't do more of this type interview early in the campaign before her opponents sliced, diced and defined her in ways not consistent with the candidate heard from today ?
The money is going to Owens....the momentum to Hoffman......but after a troubled campaign, Ms. Scozzafava can look back on a job well done on the air and a solid statement of her case for election as Member of Congress from NY23.
The Fix - Morning Fix: NY-23 as 2012 litmus test?

County Taxes Up

Let me do some ciphering....The budget is about $230 million....$48 million of that is the property tax levy....That levy is up 5% or about $1.5 million dollars. So to mitigate that you would have to cut spending by $1.5 million or about six/tenths of one percent....You don't have to be a florist to figure that out.
Watertown Daily Times County budget hike minimal; levy is up

Looking Ahead...This Poster Wants Bill-O to Clear the GOP Field for 2010.....Now that's Risky

I have been hearing rumblings about the following for some time....Let Bill Owens win with 36% and crush him with an R-C nominee next year.
Check the text of this comment received today.

Anonymous said...
As a republican, I could never support Owens, but I am not satified with any of the options. My voting strategy at this point is to think about the 2010 election. I would like to see a better republican choice on the ticket (right now my head is with Doheny - his strengths are the exact same weaknesses of Hoffman and Dede - he knows the issues well (unlike Hoffman) and would be well funded (unlike Dede). I could put up with Owens in the seat for a year for Doheny to get the chair back this time next year. Otherwise, if one of the two republicans win (I still call Hoffman a second republican candidate), then we will be left with a mediocre candidate in Washington. I want to be proud of district, so I am actually hoping Owens wins in 2009 and Doheny wins in 2010. Strange strategy, I know, but having a more long term plan makes sense to me.

That's the dilemma the GOP nominee has....Without the legitimacy bestowed by a primary, there are all sorts of spurious motives in the party of Lincoln.

Governor Backs Owens For All The Right Reasons..Whatever They Are

Cub Reporter and Notre Dame graducate Jude Seymour had an interesting post on the day in the Democratic Party....This stuff must make the handlers cringe...but really...a Democratic governor endorsing a Democratic Congressional candidate....Not a lot of news there. Now if he endorsed Hoffman....that would have been news !
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Why Doug Hoffman is Running for Office - Glenn Beck -

While I would like an appearance on the Hotline for Mr. Hoffman, he did do this interview on national TV yesterday.
Why Doug Hoffman is Running for Office - Glenn Beck -

America's Angry Live Vicariously Through Us.

America is hearing about NNY....Today in the LA Times, we are at the center of a mutiny....the NY Times reports on legions of right to lifers and tea partiers invading our turf....Even in Raleigh NC, DeDe Scozzafava and Doug Hoffman made the front page of the local paper.
We are the epitome of the popular rage that led to town hall meetings.....We are mad as Hell and not going to take it anymore.....Glenn Beck....Hannity....Newt....Sarah....They are all talking about us...
On Fox, we are a rage against the Obama machine....Across the hall at MSNBC we are angry, racist teab------.
There are field head quarters set up in hotels as America unites around a common cause....Beat DeDe, Bill-O and their deviant, big spending, ACORN loving ilk...
It's not a rage I see on the street, but you would think so when watching from afar.
There is an unrest, even if its not full-blown rage....And in the next few days it could lead to an upset heard politically coast to coast....Or it could be just business as usual with another Democrat ousting the GOP from the Northeast.
We will see in a week.
New York race at epicenter of a GOP mutiny --

Is It Hoffman-Owens. ?...DeDe Doesn't think So.

For Doug Hoffman, its no longer a three way race after a Club for Growth poll showing Republican Diedre Scozzafava imploding....That's not how Scozzafava sees it. She appeared upbeat and conversational on her HOTLINE appearance today on AM1240-WATN. Her strategy is to rattle off the local issues and try to steer the race away from the national debate over the "soul" of the GOP.
My observation locally is that while Scozzafava is attracting many Democrats to her side due to personal loyalty, she is bleeding Republicans. Lawn signs are one indicator....but behind the scenes there is an exodus of some very substantial Republicans. The kind of people a GOP candidate can always count on.....Since she needs big wins in the Western counties...erosion of that sort is a problem.
Scozzafava needs an implosion on the right....but for Hoffman the resources are expanding not dwindling. A money boost came from his interview yesterday on Glenn Beck....Campaign officials say their server crashed three times due to the call volume.
Meanwhile the New York Times reports on the influx of groups setting up headquarters trying to influence the election. All sides expect a weekend blitz of operatives from around the country.
Despite her woes on the right, Scozzafava made her case on the HOTLINE, stating her views are generally consistent with Republicanism. She stood firm in her stance in favor of same sex marriage, saying it is a basic human right conferred by the Constitution.
Scozzafava also is playing the Fort Drum card in continuing to suggest the post would be less secure with either of her opponents.
The Hoffman campaign says it is attempting to get its candidate on America's Favorite Noontime Talkshow.....The campaign of Bill Owens has made no request to be on.
The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Candidates Pumpkin Stolen ! Cops Get Their Man !

The charm of the North Country is that instead of reporting on murders, we get to enjoy the small town charm of pumpkin theft being news....The added news hook is that the store is owned by county legislature candidate Anthony Doldo who is running against incumbent James St. Croix.
Watertown Police: Man Stole Pumpkin from General Store

Post Backs Hoffman

A lot of us read the NY Post.....Not usually to find out who to vote for in a local election...Times have changed and national media is weighing in on this case for Doug Hoffman. If elected its apparent Hoffman would become a media flavor of the week as the fed-up citizen who went to Washington...Or on MSNBC, the right wing racist whacko endorsed by Sarah Palin.
Doug Hoffman for Congress

Earmarks...Pork....and What Really Happens in the Sausage Making Process

Earmarks have become a bit of an issue...not raised by a candidate...but because of assertions by reporters. The issue has been used as a bludgeon against anti-tax, anti-pork candidate Doug Hoffman.
Earmarks are those expenditures added to a bill, that are not related to the bill itself. In other words, a bill regulating poultry will contain a hidden line item for a Lawrence Welk Museum in the district of some Congressman looking to get federal funding into his district.
There are also earmarks for things like ranges at Fort Drum.......But from what I am told its not quite the same.
Some years ago during the era Dave Martin was in Congress and Fort Drum was expanding, earmarks were a way for the Army to get needed improvements without requesting it as part of the President's proposed Federal Budget.
It was a bit of a wink of the eye agreement that the administration would get the range they wanted but they wouldn't have to ask for it in their budget request. Then it would be added as an known as an earmark.
While some good government groups list all such add-ons as "pork"....these items for federal installations like Drum are not really "pork".
It's just a way of getting these items funded without going through the normal budget review process.
So when a fledgling candidate like Hoffman says no pork...or no earmarks...he needs to clarify. It's projects that are no business of the federal government he is talking about.
Hoffman got hung up on the broad-brush slogan..."no earmarks."
It's now being used to suggest he is anxious to punish the military....That's a stretch and the people saying it know it is.
Lesson learned for Hoffman.....but that's what can happen when you run as a non-politician. His naivite is charming...but does leave him open to attacks....
The earmark dust-up was hopefully a lesson in politics....and governing is, after all, politics.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Veteran Operative Visits Pearl Street

I was talking to a veteran GOP operative today and he was amazed at this race. In particular he said he doubts there are more than 50 people in NY23 who have met all three candidates.
It's true....I guess I am a lucky voter since I have met them all.
Now if you believe in your party you don't need to meet or hear candidates....You don't need those pesky debates candidates want sometimes....but not all the time. If you believe in your party, you just vote that way.
That's tough in the Republican Party when there is a white hot national debate over the "soul" of the party....Whatever that means.....
Today Gov. Pawlenty said he cannot support candidates wearing the GOP jersey at election time who vote with Democrats otherwise.
So this year Republicans cannot fall back on the comfort that the process produced the candidates best suited to the beliefs of the GOP.....Some have thought the primary-free special election process produced an illegitimate result....
Now Democrats in our area don't feel so good either voting for someone they know little about, especially with issues like Fort Drum's future being debated......Well, not exactly debated...but you know..
So in a race where so few people have met all three candidates....Republicans are not voting for their nominee...a lot of local Dems are bolting to the GOP candidate whom they know....
And we are left to divine the intent of folks in counties far away, most of us have been to seldom if ever.
The GOP must long for the days when the batan was smoothly passed from Bob McEwen to Dave Martin to John McHugh to ...oops two people grabbed it.

News 10 Now | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES | Debate between 23rd District candidates cancelled

The lack of debates has been one of the less special parts of this special election for Congress.....Today Bill-O and Hoffman ducked a face-off in Syracuse, leaving the WSYR debate later this week the key showdown....News 10's Bill Carey filed a revealing piece on DebateGate today.
News 10 Now 24 Hour Local News TOP STORIES Debate between 23rd District candidates cancelled

Pawlenty to endorse Hoffman in NY 23 - The Scorecard -

Another national Republican leader has weighed in on the side of Doug Hoffman for Congress. Governor Tim Pawlenty is considered certain to run for President in 2012. He joins former AK Governor Sarah Palin among a list of big time Republicans abandoning the Republican nominee in NY 23.
Pawlenty to endorse Hoffman in NY 23 - The Scorecard -

Polls, End Game, Decision.....One Week To Go

Today I found out some sad news.
Longtime Watertown businessman and community leader Dave Mance left for Florida and didn't bother to vote before leaving. He says he didn't like the Congressional candidates or the City Council candidates.
There was a day people like Dave wouldn't dream of not voting in such an important election.
Makes you wonder, who else will not vote next Tuesday ?
It's the turnout modeling that may decide a close race and the Democrats again have the most sophisticated voter ID and outreach program via their friends at the Working Families Party, who actually operate a for-profit business to do just that.
Much of that work was done on behalf of Darrel Aubertine with success.
The latest poll commissioned by Club for Growth show Doug Hoffman at 31....Bill Owens at 27 and one-time leader Diedre Scozzafava at 20%.
GOP party leaders and heads of Watertown media today discounted the poll..... The sample is small and the margin for error large...but the results are just more bad optics.
While most media will downplay the results, just seeing them on Newzjunky has an impact.
Everybody has been saying privately what the polls show.
Another week of TV commercials won't change that....What is needed now is to turn out the faithful.
For Republicans, they don't know who among their ranks is still faithful, and for Team Hoffman there is a real challenge trying to stimulate turnout when you don't know actually what households are for you.
Celebrity, flashy media events are likely. But it has to be big enough to make national media, as local media likely will downplay last minute events, deeming them an unfair influence on the electorate.
It will be interesting to watch the three end games play out.

What's Wrong With Being Successful ?

Let me stick up for Bill Owens on one issue.
I heard another GOP radio spot today making fun of Mr. Owens occupation....He is a lawyer. Republicans seem to take offense Bill-O makes $750K a year as a partner in his Plattsburgh firm. A firm founded by longtime GOP Senator Ron Stafford.
Being a lawyer may imply swarminess, but it also implies education and an acumen for language and issues.
I don't think it means he should be Congressman because he is a lawyer....But it doesn't mean he shouldn't either.
And why is the GOP ridiculing success ? Bill Owens makes a lot of $$$ in his field. Republicans are supposed to celebrate success and the accumulation of wealth.
If you want to make the argument his wealth makes him out of touch....fine....but that's a tough argument for the GOP.
Of course, the Owens spots making fun of the business success of Doug Hoffman are just as silly as the GOP spots. Why is it OK for Bill-O to be successful in his field, but not OK for Hoffman ?.
In any event, we should want people capable of success....So to both parties.....
Get over it !

Monday Morning Prayer and Politics

Took a couple hours off from the political world for this morning's Second Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, held at the Carriage House Restaurant.
Local pastors put on the event as part of an effort to build bridges between the religious and secular world....
Guess our local media is still secular as they didn't bother to cover it. Too bad, I think its a nice way for folks who all want the best for the community to get together.
There was some political chatter. One pastor said the abortion and gay marriage issues are a non-starter for him....Guess he is with Hoffman. Another former media man turned clergy told me the Drum issue may help Scozzafava in some circles but that her campaign has many contradictory messages.
After the meeting I ventured to the Arcade where the discourse was full speed at Weed Productions....Duff told me he can't believe how many Republicans are voting Hoffman, then professed his support for DeDe.
A WHS classmate of mine last night told me he came home to find a host of Democratic lawn signs he didn't ask for. I hear they are placing them in front of Democratic homes without asking. Saw some Owens signs yesterday in traffic islands around town....That's called the public right of way....its kind of like copyright law..
Channel 7's Jeff Cole just called...He is so darn courteous...He wanted to make sure he didn't book Council candidates on the same day they are on the Hotline. I couldn't help but ask if the Congressionals are coming on the highest rated station in the history of mankind.
He said they might do 6AM phone interviews...That's all they can fit in thier schedules.....Serious insult....
Watertown has become the rump of the 23rd district. They must have figured out they can win without us.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hoffman End Game: Keep it National

The final push for the Hoffman campaign will be as it has been....An appeal to core conservative values particularly the stop the spending, balance the budget, keep DC out of my life sentiment that drove this summers town hall meetings and tea parties. Throw in pro-life and a dash of no gay marriage and you have the cavalcade of national issues that has brought conservative media and celebrities to the race.
Doug Hoffman is depending on volunteers in the spirit of the Perot movement in a year when the major party candidates seem to be unable to draw a crowd, or stage a rally..
Hoffman will continue to be a national figure and try to reach the public through national media. In doing so he has bypassed the local media filter.
His strongest region is the part of NY23 near Syracuse. Lots of conseravtive voters and no connection to either Owens or Scozzafava. That makes Madison and Oswego County Hoffman country.
How he does elsewhere will hinge on local issues and loyalties as much as national angst. That could hurt.
He also needs to show continued momentum in this Friday's Sienna College poll. Without Big Mo, Hoffman could fade...with it he surges.

Take back the Party!

Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman penned an OP-ED for this morning's New York Post, a further sign this race is playing out in parallel Universes...national and local.
Read the part about growing up poor in the Adirondacks...If thats true why is Bill-O making fun of him for being successful ?
Take back the Party!

Scozzafava Takes on Bill-O.....Its About Time

I am sure smarter people than I advised the same thing....and finally the Scozzafava campaign is getting it....A new commercial I just saw during Fox News Sunday slams Bill-O's specious claims about "creating" jobs. Claims even his own campaign now admits are well.....just not true....
Can DeDe get Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) to stand up and yell "You Lied !" ?
The other day she ask me my advice and I told her....take on the guy favored to win. I wanted to tell her to quit calling the cops on reporters but I didn't think it a nice thing to bring up at the moment.
By trying to run against Doug Hoffman, Scozzafava was merely trashing mainstream Republican principles....A non-winning strategy, if you are trying to win as a Republican nominee. A lot of people like Hoffman's views, but wonder how effective a representitive he will be.
Scozzafava will have to depend on friends in media to rough up Hoffman.
DeDe's career in politics, while troublesome in this anti-government environment, matters if you are running to be a Representitive. It is about specific, quirky issues in a district that a Member of Congress is expected to address.
Having done that already in the Assembly and dealt with lawmakers before, seems that might be helpful. In particular her familiarity with Fort Drum, which is the reason the Jefferson County unemployment rate is 2 points below the national average.
If you look at your Member of Congress as a decider on the great issues of the day, she is toast.
Stimulus, card check, abortion, gay marriage, you name it. She has developed enough enemies on those matters....Issues are not her forte'.
How about this line...
"I am running to keep Fort Drum open....not figure out what to do with it once it's closed...."
Fact is, Bill-O's job claims are phantom and his election should be worrisome to those who value our post as an economic engine as well as a part of America's arsenal.
In the final days, Watertown....the largest city in the district.....will become the battleground.....
Let's make it about issues important to us and ask the candidates to talk to us......
And if that means doing something ghetto like appearing on a low-brow show like the HOTLINE or Live at 5, well that's the price of admission to the big show.