Some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets

Ah, for the days gone by when “politics stops at the water’s edge.”  Ah, for the days gone by when New York Republicans avoided primaries.  Welcome to politics 2022.

Here are some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets:

  • In a climate where every politician is his or her own distributor of news via the internet it is probably naive to think that it will ever again be possible for American foreign policy to operate under the rule of politics stopping at the water’s edge.  For history buff readers, that policy was developed by Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg in 1948 and helped pave the way for the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • All presidential administrations since that time have been active supporters of NATO, except for Putin/Russia pal Donald Trump, who continues to pledge his allegiance to all that the Ruskies want. And what they want is to restore the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the communist autocracy that ruled with an iron fist for seven decades.
  • It is expected that Republicans will criticize President Biden for what he has done or not done about Ukraine.  The question for all Republican candidates is, however, do you stand with Trump and Russia on the matter of the invasion of Ukraine?  Do you think Vladimir Putin is a “savvy genius?”
  • Reporting from the state Republican Committee Convention on Long Island, City & State noted that state Chairman Nick “Langworthy offered a prime example of the Republican Party attempting to have things both ways – still supporting Trump while likening the state GOP to Ukrainians fighting to preserve their democracy… the cheers for Langworthy when he referenced how much better Trump would have handled this situation offered a strong indication that members of the party at large are not ready to divorce themselves from the former president – despite his closeness to Russia.”
  • There are at the moment four Republican candidates for the new 24th congressional district that Congressman Chris Jacobs is claiming as his.  Jacobs will have all the money he needs and a Trumpkin record to run on, which presents a serious obstacle to the others.  How far right can a candidate run in New York State?
  • Senator Rick Scott, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has presented his platform for the 2022 election.  Included is a plan to make sure that the 100 million Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes should be required to do so.  Scott believes that everyone must have some “skin in the game,” an interesting expression considering how badly his proposal will affect millions of people.  The plan contradicts the 2017 Republican tax legislation which raised the amount of standard deductions, thereby exempting millions from federal taxes.  Among those millions are senior citizens who are no longer employed, many of whom surviving with just their Social Security benefits.
  • The entry of Harry Wilson at the eleventh hour into the race for governor is a major embarrassment for Republican State Chairman Nick Langworthy and pretty much the entire leadership of the state Republican and Conservative Parties.  Many months ago, they anointed Congressman Lee Zeldin as their parties’ “presumptive” nominee for governor.  It appears that Wilson noticed what most political people in the state have noticed, which is that (a) not many people have ever heard of Zeldin and (b) Zeldin’s association with Trump will not play well in New York.
  • Wilson says that he will turn around New York State the same way that he turned around several corporations in the private sector.  State government is a bit more complicated.  There may be some issues about how those Wilson turn-around projects were implemented.  And then there is this:  Democrats have more than two-thirds vote majorities in the Assembly and the Senate, a fact that is not likely to change anytime soon.  The state legislators will have a different view about turning around New York than Wilson does.
  • Wilson will need to explain to the Republican base his contributions to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as well as his work with the Obama Administration.
  • History note:  Carl Paladino ran an insurgent campaign against Rick Lazio, the endorsed Republican candidate for governor in 2010.  Paladino won that primary by 23 percent.
  • The Republican lawsuit that is trying to overturn the new congressional districts recently approved by the State Legislature will be heard in a state court in Steuben County this week.  If the local court does overturn the plan (likely) the case will immediately go to the Court of Appeals.  A quick decision is needed if the petitioning process leading up to the June 28th primary is going to proceed.
  • The race for Erie County Clerk looks like voters will have a choice between the endorsed Democrat, Eden Supervisor Melissa Hartman, who was previously a Republican and incumbent Michael Kearns, a registered Democrat who owes the office he holds to the Republican Party.  Talk about crossing the political aisle!
  • Senator Sean Ryan may have a Democratic primary from write-in mayoral candidate Ben Carlisle, who attracted 219 votes in that election.  Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra will take on Ryan in November as the Republican candidate.  As of January, Ryan had $234,775 in his campaign account; Giambra had $70,727 available from his previous election efforts.  The last financial filing by Carlisle reported a balance of $1,425.
  • Senator Ed Rath, now a resident of the same district as Senator Tim Kennedy, could set his sights on the 146th Assembly District represented by Karen McMahon.  Because of the growth in population the new version of the 146th District is now wholly contained in the Town of Amherst.  Rath had $100,935 in his campaign account as of last month while McMahon reported $59,003.
  • Assemblywoman Monica Wallace appears to have a more friendly district to run in compared with the one she has represented for the past six years.  She loses some of the Town of Lancaster but gains heavily Democratic portions of Buffalo’s East Side.  Republican Frank Smierciak came within five percent of winning the heavily Democratic seat in 2020 even though he had little name recognition and not much campaign cash. 
  • Republicans reportedly are planning a serious campaign effort against Assemblyman Pat Burke in the 142nd District but their candidate remains to be identified.
  • The secession movement on the part of the Towns of Marilla and Wales leaving Erie County must have gone into the study phase of the project.  How long does it take the town supervisors to figure out that $979,000 (Marilla) and $749,000 (Wales) in Erie County sales tax would vanish if the towns shifted to Wyoming County?

Follow me on Twitter @kenkruly