New York, over and out — now what? Team Pigeon back together for another campaign

So New York State has proven to be both meaningful and valuable. Some national blogs and newsletters love to highlight the five “takeaways” of every political event. There are, however, only two points that really matter from yesterday’s results.

  1. Donald Trump’s win got him what he needed – at least 89 of the 95 delegates, with the possibility of three more.  Trump carried the state  with 60 percent of the vote and received 66 percent of the vote in Erie County; impressive numbers, but not Carl Paladino type numbers. Paladino carried the county by 93-to-7 percent in his 2010 gubernatorial primary.  The Republican turnout in Erie County in 2010 was 50,051. Yesterday it was approximately 58,000.
  2. Hillary Clinton got the victory she needed in New York. Sanders outspent her by millions – keep ‘berning’ through that cash, Bernie. The delegates, of course, are what counts, and New York helped pad her lead. Secretary Clinton won at least 173 of the 291 available delegates. Bernie does not do well in Democrats-only primaries, and it is, after all, a contest for the Democratic nomination for president. Democratic turnout in Erie County yesterday was approximately 100,000. The benchmark in a presidential primary was 109,261 votes in the Clinton-Obama race in 2008.  Clinton carried the county yesterday by a small margin.  Much of upstate went to Sanders.

So now what?

Next Tuesday there is another mini-Super Tuesday with five states voting – Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. There are a total of 172 Republicans delegates at stake and 462 delegates in the Democratic primaries.  It should be noted, however, that 54 of the available convention delegates from Pennsylvania will go to the convention uncommitted, regardless of the results of that state’s primary.

Trump after New York, according to Politico, has 845 delegates, 392 short of what he needs for the nomination. The states voting next Tuesday are not Cruz country and the Kasich campaign appears to be on life support. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Trump wins 70 delegates next Tuesday, leaving him 322 short.

From May 3rd through June 7th a total of 502 Republican delegates in 10 states are up for grabs. Trump will need about 64 percent of those delegates. It is possible, but not likely. Ted Cruz may win two or three of the ten states which happen to be winner-take-all. So there will be a battle royale in California on June 7th. Trump should be 50 to 100 delegates short by the time he gets to Cleveland for the convention. Assuming that Cruz doesn’t grab too many delegates Trump thinks he already has, many of the 200 or so uncommitted delegates would be hard pressed not to go with Trump.

Clinton, according to Politico, has 1,930 pledged and super delegates after New York. She needs 453 more to wrap up the nomination. Of the states voting next Tuesday, four of the five are Democrats-only primaries, which works in Clinton’s favor. If she picks up, say, 250 of next week’s delegates she will only need 203 more. There are 276 to be selected in May and another 930 the first week in June. So the only question about Clinton locking up the nomination is when, not if.

The Pigeon crew back together again; plus some other facts and heard-on-the-streets

While Steve Pigeon continues to lie low while waiting for the state and federal investigations involving him to be resolved, his crew apparently has gotten back together for another campaign. This one is a weird one.

Steve and company had apparently bought into the rumors that had Congressman Brian Higgins’ campaign circulating petitions for Congress. Then after the time for a primary challenge opportunity had passed, Higgins, according to the rumor, would decline the Democratic designating petitions. The Party then, the rumor went, would, through its Committee on Vacancies, select a new candidate without a primary. And then, the rumors continued, Higgins would be appointed President of Erie Community College following the resignation of Jack Quinn.

These rumors have been denied by Higgins himself and his team. This blog and Michael Caputo’s as well both noted weeks ago that it wasn’t going to happen. I had a quote from Higgins Chief of Staff Chuck Eaton guaranteeing that there was nothing to the rumors.

All this, however, did not deter Team Pigeon. They proceeded to circulate their own version of Higgins’ nominating petitions. The candidate was the same but the Committee on Vacancies on the two sets was different. The Pigeon crew theory was that if Higgins dropped out of the race they could put up their own substitute candidate for Congress and create a primary against the replacement candidate of the Democratic organization.

The last day for declining nominating petitions was April 18th. Higgins did not decline.

Higgins’ Party organization petitions Committee had mostly Democratic Headquarters folks as members. Pigeon’s Committee on Vacancies, on the other hand, included Kristy Mazurek and her brother Mark, Peter Reese and Donald Turchiarelli, all veteran members of Team Pigeon. The petition circulators included David Pfaff, long-time Pigeon loyalist and current member of Senator Marc Panepinto’s staff. Pfaff may have had a hand in filing the petitions with the State Board of Elections.

But there is more. Higgins’ team filed their own petitions on April 13th. Team Pigeon mailed their petitions to the State Board of Elections in Albany (petitions for an office crossing county lines must file there). The State Board’s rules require that petitions that are mailed must be sent overnight and must arrive no later than 5 PM on the day after the last day to file petitions, which this year was last Friday, April 15th. Team Pigeon’s Higgins’ petitions arrived in Albany on the afternoon of Monday, April 18th.

Since Higgins did not decline the petitions the whole Team Pigeon effort is moot. That the petitions arrived late in Albany would just be icing on the cake.

This was all, like so many other Pigeon campaign efforts, a waste of time and money. The Team must be looking for something to do. Perhaps some community service?

Meanwhile, still on the race for the 26th Congressional District, the Republican Party circulated petitions listing Ross Kostecky as the party candidate. Kostecky is a County Legislature staffer and Delaware District Republican chairman. The thing is, Kostecky will not be Higgins’ GOP opponent.

The Republican Party has substituted Shelly Schratz as their congressional candidate. Ms. Schratz is an Amherst restaurateur, former member of the Town Council, and a one-time candidate for County Clerk. David Swarts defeated her in 2006 by 110,118 votes. She also lost a County Legislature seat running against Tom Loughran in 2011. Schratz is a registered Conservative, so the Republicans needed to give her a Wilson-Pakula certification allowing her to run as a Republican.

Some other facts and heard-on-the-streets:

  • John Flynn’s DA race is taking off very well. A recent fundraiser took in substantial donations and attracted the who’s who of the local legal community.
  • Tom Loughran is the likely Democratic candidate for the State Senate against Mike Ranzenhofer.
  • Steve Meyer, the 2014 Democratic candidate for Assembly in the 146th District against Ray Walter, is mulling another run this year. Meyer is currently Executive Director of Erie County Democratic Committee. Walter defeated Meyer by a 57 to 43 percent margin two years ago.

It was nice to meet Ray face-to-face for the first time at a local restaurant yesterday after some mentions in the blog last year when he ran against Mark Poloncarz. Ray was with Nick Langworthy, perhaps discussing a Trump-Kasich ticket in November.

And finally, here’s noting Harvey Weinstein’s shoutout for Joe Crangle on MSNBC’s election night coverage last evening.  You can view the video here.  The reference comes at about the 4:00 mark of the tape.