Emails from Elizabeth and Devin; some observations and heard-on-the-streets

We all get on a variety of email listservs over time. We might sign up for some of them, but many are just a waste of time.

If you’re in to following politics the emails can turn into a flood. From the various media outlets there are dozens of newsletters. Very few of them write original content. Most are aggregators of news and opinion pieces from other sources, and they generally overlap with one another. If you read one of the sites you can probably pass on reading 90 percent of the others available daily.

Aside from the newsletters, my email inbox is inundated with solicitations from a wide political spectrum. As a Democrat I have signed up for some contacts, and others just show up. But I actually get more political email from Republicans.

In February 2016, during the height of the Republican primaries for president, I traveled around South Carolina for a few days, observing the campaign presentations of various candidates including Trump, Bush, Rubio, Cruz and Kasich. I also caught a Bernie Sanders event. In order to be admitted to most of those events I needed a “ticket,” which I acquired by emailing the campaigns.

Two years later the emails are still streaming in. Someone or someones must be making a pretty penny selling those email lists.

Most of the emails ask for money. All play to the base, as determined simplistically it seems by people just signing up for something by email. Donald Trump and his team often ask for just one dollar, although three dollars is often the baseline ask for many of these solicitations. When Trump has a fundraiser coming up he often asks for a small donation to be entered into a raffle for a chance to have dinner with him. Ah, so tempting, but I have resisted the opportunity to respond.

The emails also get more intense right before a federal campaign finance filing deadline, which recently occurred on March 31. I had five emails from Trumpland in just the twelve hours before midnight on that day.

Most of the emails have a similar theme, with just the names of the solicitors and the names of the evil opposition changed. I guess there are only so many ways you can ask someone for campaign money.

Here’s is a brief summary of emails that have arrived in the past few days:

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D,MA), writing on behalf of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, says thatthe mega-wealthy Republican donors on the other side have the money to dump millions of dollars into Senate races like mine. They think they can take us down in a blink.”
  • Congressman Devin Nunes (R,CA) reports that “this month’s special election was a wake up call to our movement. We can’t expect to sit around and do nothing and win in November. The left wants to take the majority and make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again. We must expect the midterms to be vicious. We need as many resources as possible to fend them off.”
  • Senator Chuck Schumer (D,NY), looking to take over the Senate against long odds, made a pitch for two Democratic women candidates for the Senate. “Now that Doug Jones is a sitting senator, we only need to flip two seats to take back the majority… Just look at Jacky Rosen (in Nevada) and Kyrsten Sinema (in Arizona).”
  • State Senator Karin Housley (R,MN), candidate for the United States Senate, told me “I will fight to protect jobs. I will fight for our veterans. I will fight for our entrepreneurs, and most importantly, I will fight for you, Ken.” This one is tempting. I’ve thought about donating $3 (about the price of a Sabres hockey ticket these days) if she promises to permanently re-locate her husband, Sabres Coach Phil Housley, back to Minnesota.
  • Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D,TX), candidate for the United States Senate, explains “our campaign to take on Ted Cruz doesn’t take a dime from PACs or corporate special interests. We’re trying to do things the right way … by relying on the support of regular, everyday people chipping in what they can afford.”
  • Catherine Templeton, candidate for Governor of South Carolina in the upcoming Republican primary, tells me “I am a mother, wife, union-busting-attorney, a Trump supporter, a one-time textile worker, and I was the Secretary of Labor for Governor Nikki Haley. Kenneth, there are many out there who have already slandered my campaign because of my support of President Trump.”
  • Senator Kamala Harris (D,CA) extended a “welcome to the team! I’m glad to have you on board as we work to build a coalition of Americans strong enough to take back our country and advance an agenda rooted in justice, equality, and tolerance for all of our people.” Thank you Senator, but I don’t recall joining the team.
  • Senator Tom Cotton (R,AK), former possible future Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in asking for money noted last week that “if I can’t secure the last 59 donations and post strong public fundraising numbers, then Democrats and the liberal media will have a field day. They are looking for any weakness to use against me, and I don’t want to lose even an ounce of momentum.”
  • Former Republican Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli, who is President of the Senate Conservatives Fund, attacked establishment Republicans about the recently approved federal budget, noting that “the massive omnibus spending bill written and passed by GOP leaders in the House and Senate is yet another betrayal of the conservative voters who elected them.” Oh, by the way Mr. Cuccinelli, Donald Trump signed that dastardly budget.

Some observations and heard-on the street items

  • I know the old expression, “signs don’t vote.” But when political signs are placed on the lawns of homes it does indicate support and likely votes. In a totally unscientific and anecdotal way, it appears that Republican Erik Bohen, with three weeks to go until the special election for State Assembly in the 142nd District, has a lead among sign-posting residents, at least in the Buffalo portion of the district. I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions just yet, but it looks like Democratic candidate Pat Burke has some catching up to do in his home territory. He might want to look for more attention-grabbing issues than the microbead ban legislation that is featured in a couple postcards.
  • There are about 86,000 registered voters in that Assembly district, with about 62 percent of that number located in Orchard Park and West Seneca. Less than 20 percent of the voters reside in Buffalo’s South District, which is the de facto epicenter for the election. A turnout of about 15 percent is likely, so the trick for each of the candidates is in finding 6,500 of your closest friends and relatives to show up and vote for you.
  • A previous post noted a dearth of candidates for most state legislative seats in Western New York. One such seat is the one presently occupied by Republican and strong Trump supporter David DiPietro in the 147th Assembly District, who was unopposed in the last two elections. There is, however, a prospective candidate for the Democratic nomination who is making the rounds, Luke Wochensky. Mr. Wochensky is a resident of Colden, New York. He is an attorney whose principle office is in … Moscow, Russia. Really. You can Google it. In the absence of any other interested candidate, Wochensky could wind up almost by default as the Democratic nominee. This is very confusing.
  • Former Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters evidently is not content with just being the new Town Attorney. He has been appointed as partner and chief legal officer of the real estate firm Colby Development. Looks like he might be pretty busy.
  • The Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government recently published reports on the transparency of websites of local governments and public authorities. Issues reviewed included whether the sites provide links to meeting agendas and minutes; contact and FOIL information; budgets and related matters. None of the governments or agencies came out particularly well, but some do much better than others. You can read the government and authority reports here: