The expression “it’s all over but the shouting” never had more meaning than Wednesday morning following the congressional doubleheader in NY27.
Nine days of early voting and the in-person turnout on Election Day produced relatively low totals. Literally tens of thousands of absentee votes, an unprecedented number, remain to be counted. Even while awaiting official totals which are about two weeks away, however, it is pretty clear that Jacobs’ in-person vote margins of victory in both the special election and the primary cannot be overcome with the available absentee votes that will be split among the candidates. Chris Jacobs has won both the special congressional election in NY27 and the Republican primary for nomination to the same seat in November.
This blogger thought that while Republicans would gravitate to Jacobs in the special election to keep the seat Republican, there was at least the possibility of an upset in the Republican primary with Beth Parlato’s hard charging challenge to Jacobs. It turned out that her over-the-top television advertising campaign may have brought her campaign down — or maybe it was simply a badly run campaign.
The first ads that Parlato ran, with actors sarcastically going after Jacobs on taxes and his previously moderate Republican positions, may have had some impact. But after the brouhaha about Jacobs voting residence played out last week and it became known that she had instigated the matter, she persisted in running an ad that suggested that Jacobs might be a future felon, headed to jail. The ad ran right through Election Day. Bad judgment.
While there were an unprecedented number of absentee ballots returned in the elections, the voting statistics show that Republicans were less inclined than Democrats to vote absentee; the Reps turned out in larger numbers on Tuesday. People going to vote in person had the opportunity to absorb and assess that Parlato had the story about Jacobs’ voting residence either wrong or twisted.
In the special election Democrat Nate McMurray seemed to be waiting for Parlato to help take down Jacobs. There were dozens of McMurray Tweets, but hardly an ad until near the end of the campaign. Political people are fond of saying “signs don’t vote” while assessing the number of signs on lawns. This campaign might add a new truism, “Tweets don’t vote.” Tweets are an inside baseball sort of thing.
We will now wait until July 14 or later to get the official results in NY27, but it’s all over but the shouting.
Jacobs and McMurray will re-litigate things over the next four plus months but McMurray has an awfully high hill to climb to November. NY27 is overwhelming Republican by affiliation; Trump is still popular there; and McMurray’s liberal politics will be difficult to sell. He ran a close race in 2018 against the indicted Chris Collins, but Jacobs is not Collins.
There are also some things that will need to be tidied up with the other two contestants in the Republican primary, Parlato and Stefan Mychajliw.
Parlato at the moment remains the Conservative Party candidate for Congress in the November election. She previously indicated that she would abandon that nomination to allow the party to substitute Jacobs on the ballot. As a lawyer Parlato can decline the nomination in order to run for a judgeship, albeit this will be for a race that she will not compete in actively and will have no chance of winning. The State Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Conventions will be held between August 6th and 12th. Parlato will carry the Conservative banner in the non-conservative hinterlands of Manhattan or the Bronx.
Mychajliw remains Erie County Comptroller for a term that ends in a year and a half. His problem is all the burning bridges that he left behind with Erie County Republicans when he first declined to run for County Executive against Mark Poloncarz last year and then pursued an underfunded and anemic effort in the Republican congressional primary.
In the course of pursuing the congressional seat Mychajliw aggressively attacked the Republican establishment. Will they abandon him when it comes time for re-election or might he just walk away from the office? And while I’m asking questions, close observers in the Southtowns report that during the recent primary there was no Stefan Mychajliw for Congress sign on Lynne Dixon’ property in Hamburg. Why didn’t Mychajliw appointee Dixon have a sign on her lawn?
On to November.