Okay, everyone take a deep breath and then we’re off to the races in November.
Well, okay, at least try to pretend that you know there is an election in six weeks and what it is all about.
Except in cases where there is not an incumbent in office, Election Day 2017 is looking like – nothing. There are no hotly contested campaigns. There are no issues that anyone other than a dyed-in-the-wool political junkie could identify. It’s almost like an incumbent protection program.
The most actively followed primary election, the Democratic contest for Mayor of Buffalo, drew a turnout of 25 percent of the City’s Democrats. Other primary elections brought out far fewer voters.
Mayor Byron Brown’s less than overwhelming victory cost his campaign $855,261 this year, or an average of $64.08 for each of the 13,346 votes he received. He is left $167,200 in his account. With no serious opponent in November it is likely that the biggest remaining expense for the Brown for Buffalo campaign in 2017 will be for the purchase of holiday turkeys and other donations to the needy. It should be noted that the Mayor’s campaign has been very generous with such donations over the years.
City Comptroller Mark Schroeder was left with $45,448 in his treasury after the primary. He spent $44.94 for each of his 9,219 votes.
County Legislator Betty Jean Grant may have only received 13 percent of the vote in the mayoral primary, but the cost of her effort was just $21,531, making her the most efficient mayoral candidate, cost-per-voter wise. She spent an average of $6.59 to achieve the 3,267 votes she received.
Heading toward November the incumbent Sheriff, Tim Howard, and the incumbent County Comptroller, Stefan Mychajliw both have considerable financial advantages over their Democratic opponents, Bernie Tolbert for Sheriff and Vanessa Glushefski for Comptroller. Howard, as of September 22nd, had a balance of $132,788 available. The TV ads that he is running now are not covered in that financial report. Tolbert has $55,884 in his campaign treasury.
As of the July 15th Financial Reports, Mychajliw had $90,441 and Glushefski had $15,817. Comptroller Mychajliw was a candidate in the September 12th Reform Party primary but he failed to file any of the three required primary-related financial reports with the State Board of Elections.
Republican candidate for County Clerk Mickey Kearns was also involved in a Reform Party primary but he did file the required reports (as did Howard), which indicate that Kearns had a balance of $43,706 available for the remainder of the campaign at this time. Democrat Steve Cichon was not a candidate in a primary election. His July report showed a balance of $14,216.
There are only four contested races for the Erie County Legislature out of the eleven seats. In those races, here are the balances in campaign accounts for the most recently required financial breakdowns:
- 5th District – Democrat incumbent Tom Loughran $5,401; Republican Guy Marlette $26,638
- 8th District – Democrat John Bruso $10,183; Republican incumbent Ted Morton $22,996
- 9th District – Democrat Michael Quinn $23,731; Republican-caucus incumbent Lynn Dixon $44,597
- 10th District – Democrat Michelle Schoeneman $16,775; Republican-caucus incumbent Joe Lorigo $147,715
There are no contested elections for judicial seats in the Buffalo City Court, Erie County Court, Erie County Surrogate Court and soon, after the upcoming Judicial Nominating Conventions for Supreme Court with the expected cross endorsements, there will be no State Supreme Court races as well.
In the towns the major contested elections will be in Amherst, Hamburg and the Town of Tonawanda.
Surge of the Trump-Russia scandal hits Caputo
There is a whole lot brewing on the Trump-Russia scandal. There certainly seems to be enough substance to indicate that, at the very least, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump campaign aide and 24-day National Security Advisor Michael Flynn are looking at some serious legal problems, probably sooner than later. From all that has been reported they both appear to have been playing fast-and-loose with their foreign political entanglements and the substantial income that such activity produced. Payback is a bitch.
The scandal has engulfed a whole lot of other major and minor players in the Trump campaign who participated directly in the work or, in some cases, only indirectly or casually. Bloomberg News reported recently on the impact of such campaign connections. People are lawyering up everywhere, no matter how direct or serious their involvement in the Russian fiasco may have been. Even some lawyers have hired lawyers.
Many Trumpkins are very wealthy but others, not so much. Some can afford legal bills that may range, according to Bloomberg, from $20,000 up into the millions, while others are having their personal finances ruined by the consequences of their association with Donald Trump. Rich folks can afford it. Others, like Flynn, are begging for donations to a defense fund. And of course if your name is Trump, you can get the Republican National Committee and Trump 2020 Inc. to pay the bills.
Local political operative Michael Caputo has been caught up in the mess, telling Bloomberg that he needed to drain his children’s college funds to pay his legal bills. Caputo’s Trump effort was reportedly short-term and not at a high level, but he is now a part of the story too.
Most disturbing are Caputo’s comments about threats made against him and his family. Everyone just needs to cool it. The problem is, the divider-in-chief in the White House has encouraged violence and the type of hate that breeds more hate. This is by far the greatest damage that Donald Trump has wrought on this country, and it shows no signs of subsiding.
Theodore Roosevelt and the NFL
Watching all the animosity that Trump created about the NFL and its players over the past several days, it seems pretty clear that his words were part of his never ending efforts to throw red meat to his most rabid supporters to distract them from his failing presidency. The protests make me wonder: if Theodore Roosevelt was a NFL player in 2017, wouldn’t he be taking a knee too? “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”