Where, oh where, was Congressman Chris Collins when Steve Bannon flew into town last week to rally Trumpkins on behalf of the Congressman most likely to be in jail a year and a half from now? Bannon’s track record on congressional rescue missions for legally challenged candidates is not what you would call great, including as it does the defeat of accused pedophile Roy Moore in last year’s Alabama Senate race and the defeat of convicted felon Michael Grimm in his Republican House primary in New York City this past June.
Bannon was also in town to promote the re-election of State Assemblyman David DiPietro, an early Trumpkin. Bob McCarthy’s reporting of the event in the Buffalo News indicated that DiPietro was in attendance but did not speak and left early. Strange. What wasn’t strange was the absence of all other Republican candidates. They were spared the problem of having to explain their absence.
What is interesting about all of this is that this rally was supposed to be about pumping up the Republican/Trumpkin base. A reported attendance of 350 (one report said 200) is nice for any local rally at this stage of a campaign, but not for superstar, Trump-brain Steve Bannon who flew in on a private jet to attend. It did beat the 38 people who attended a Bannon rally on Staten Island earlier in the week. But Republican candidates, who you would think would want to pump up their base, had better things to do.
“There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear,” as the Buffalo Springfield sang. DiPietro seems to be running scared in a district that is heavily Republican. He didn’t even have an opponent in his last two elections. He has Michael Caputo as a paid campaign manager, who seems to be a pretty busy fellow. Why is Caputo spending all that time in Republican Wyoming County, which should be a slam dunk for DiPietro? But heck, $11,000 for that gig isn’t bad.
This year DiPietro has a Democratic opponent, Luke Wochensky. Luke has run a great campaign directed at meeting the people who he wants to represent. It seems to be working. It’s refreshingly positive.
Caputo has publicly commented on the negativity about Chris Collins that he has observed in the time he has been spending in Wyoming County. Not a good sign for Collins.
Collins commercials, which are essentially all of his campaign since he otherwise only pops up unexpectedly at small out-of-the-way Republican gatherings, are the slimiest that this community has seen in a long time.
The Republican strategy for the 27th congressional district is to hold your nose and vote for the future felon. It’s the most Republican district in New York State, so it has a chance of working. The ongoing New York Times poll of the district, however, has the district incredibly close, 44 percent (Collins) to 40 percent, which parallels a previous poll in the district. Nate McMurray has edged up a bit in Nate Silver’s 538 campaign projections.
The sixteen percent who are undecided quite likely already know Collins as an established politician, but they are holding back. McMurray has a good shot at their votes. And perhaps figuring that Collins is not worth it, or that voting for the future felon is too hard, lots of Republicans may just decide they have something better to do than vote next Tuesday.
Collins, who is likely on his way to jail sometime in 2020 (or sooner if he takes a plea deal) will have as his legacy a failed re-election for Erie County Executive; a despicable, desperate re-election campaign for Congress; and time in jail. All that and somewhere in the range of $50-100 millions of wealth. What a way to go out.
Candidates were required to file campaign financial reports on October 26th for receipts and expenses through October 22. These are the last required financial reports that are due before the election, although candidates who received contributions or loans of more than $1,000 after October 22nd are also required to disclose that information within 24 hours of the receipt of the contribution or loan.
Here is a quick rundown of the balances in the accounts of major party statewide and local candidates, plus the minor party candidates for governor:
Democrat – Andrew Cuomo $6,753,406
Republican – Marc Molinaro $311,964
Green – Howie Hawkins $26,301
Serve America Movement – Stephanie Miner $52,057
Democrat –Letitia James $907,302
Republican – Keith Wofford $207,130. $150,000 in personal funds contributed.
Thomas DiNapoli $2,091,588
Jonathan Trichter $116,886
State Supreme Court – Cross endorsements
Paula Feroleto $69,012
John Curran $53,476
State Senate – 59th District
Democrat – no candidate
Republican – Pat Gallivan $80,952
State Senate – 60th District
Democrat – Carima El-Behairy $21,197
Republican – Chris Jacobs $348,745
State Senate – 61st District
Democrat – Joan Seamans $11,340
Republican – Michael Ranzenhofer $839,726. Donated $50,000 to Republican Senate Committee.
State Senate – 62nd District
Democrat – no candidate
Republican – Robert Ortt $182,706
State Senate – 63rd District
Democrat – Tim Kennedy $421,976
Republican – no candidate
State Assembly – 140th District
Democrat – Robin Schimminger $407,650
Republican – Adam Ohar No report filed as of November 1st
State Assembly – 141st District
Democrat – Crystal Peoples-Stokes No report filed as of November 1st
Republican – Ross Kostecky No report filed as of November 1st
State Assembly — 142nd District
Democrat – Patrick Burke $22,354
Republican – Eric Bohen $23,540
State Assembly – 143rd District
Democrat – Monica Wallace $46,780
Republican – Daniel Centinello Sr. $2,735
State Assembly – 144th District
Democrat – Joseph DiPasquale $8,732
Republican – Michael Norris $87,541
State Assembly – 145th District
Democrat – no candidate
Republican – Angelo Morinello $71,503
State Assembly – 146th District
Democrat – Karen McMahon $25,931. Received $220,000 from the Democratic Assembly Committee.
Republican – Ray Walter $27,263. Received $20,000 from the Republican Assembly Committee.
State Assembly – 147th District
Democrat – Luke Wochensky $44,779
Republican – David DiPietro $24,443
State Assembly – 149th District
Democrat – Sean Ryan $218,885
Republican – Joseph Totaro No report filed as of November 1st
Erie County Court Judge
Suzanne Maxwell Barnes $1,398
Erie County Family Court
Lisa Rodwin $14,309
Erie County Clerk
Democrat – Angela Marinucci $5,794. $75,000 spent on TV ads.
Republican – Michael Kearns $76,783