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

The New York primaries, round one, are over.  The results played out pretty much as anticipated.  On to the congressional and state Senate primaries on August 23rd.

Here are some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets concerning federal, state, and local politics and government:

  • The January 6th Special Committee hearings have become a riveting story. Republicans who held major positions in the White House and in the Trump campaign have come forward to confirm that Trump’s claims of election fraud were fiction. The lack of Republican voices still in support of his Big Lie is deafening.
  • Not to be undone, the Republican-dominated Supreme Court has weighed in with highly political decisions concerning abortion rights; the use of guns; and environmental regulations. Those decisions are directly contrary to the majority of public opinion in this country, but that is of no matter to the Justices now running the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts is “Chief” in title only.
  • Republican candidates for president in 2024 are moving into position. Some are bolder than others. They are all seeing that Trump’s personal history, growing legal problems, and obsession with the Big Lie are slowly removing him for any serious attempt to run for president again.
  • Governor Kathy Hochul’s primary victory is one for the books as she carried every single county. She defeated Tom Suozzi by a two-to-one margin in his home county, Nassau, and won in Brooklyn (Kings County) by double-digits over Jumaane Williams, who is from Brooklyn. She carried all five New York City boroughs by solid majorities.
  • It is true that Republican candidate for governor, Lee Zeldin, defeated Trump golf partner Andrew Guiliani by double-digits, but Zeldin’s win needs to be put into perspective. Zeldin ran as the “presumptive” Republican candidate for more than a year. At the Republican state convention in February, he had the support of 85 percent of the party. And yet with all of that support he only received 44 percent of the primary vote. Carl Paladino received nearly 100,000 more votes than Zeldin in Paladino’s Republican primary win for governor in 2010.
  • And then there is the sad case of turnaround master, Harry Wilson. He spent $12 million of his own money but finished last with less than 70,000 votes. That translates into about $171 per vote.
  • Considering that Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado was a member of Congress getting ready to run for re-election just two months ago, his win in the primary with over 57 percent of the vote was impressive.
  • Working Families Party candidate for governor, Jumaane Williams, never really got his campaign off the ground. His running mate for lieutenant governor, Ana Maria Archila, ran far behind Delgado; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Archila. WF and Socialist Democrat candidates ran against more than two dozen incumbent Democratic members of the Assembly from New York City; nearly all the incumbents won.
  • Williams will now withdraw as the WF candidate for governor, allowing the party to substitute Hochul on their line.
  • Erie County Democrats, in addition to piling up an 83 percent victory for Hochul in the county, had a big night with a solid 27-point win for Melissa Hartman over County Clerk Michael Kearns in the party primary. Kearns’ poor showing leaves Hartman in a strong position going into November. The last Democrat to win the office was Hochul, in 2010.
  • Next up: party judicial conventions in early August. Word on the streets is that there will be four cross endorsements for state Supreme Court. The Democratic candidates will be incumbent Appellate Division Justice Tracey Bannister and Craig Hannah, recently appointed by Hochul to the state bench; Hannah was previously Chief Judge of Buffalo City Court. For the Republicans Gerald Greenan, who has twice in recent years run and lost for Supreme Court, will be one of the candidates. The second Republican will either be Conservative County Legislator Joseph Lorigo or Kelly Vacco.
  • But wait, there’s more. Another state Supreme Court judgeship was recently created for the 8th Judicial District by the Legislature. The preferred Democratic choice is likely to be City Court Judge Shannon Heneghan. Edward Pace was appointed to a vacant position by Governor Hochul but he will not run.
  • The primaries on August 23rd will include contests for Congress and the state Senate. The main event locally will be the Republican race in the new 23rd congressional district, where state party Chairman Nick Langworthy will be up against Carl Paladino. Paladino was the party’s candidate for governor in 2010 and served for a while as a member of the Buffalo Board of Education before his removal from that office.
  • Paladino is out first with a TV ad that essentially presents his biography. The only questions about the TV advertising to come in this campaign are how many millions will be spent, and how soon will it be before the gloves come off and the race turns highly negative.
  • Paladino can mostly self-fund his campaign. Langworthy’s money will likely come mostly from out-of-town PACs. Langworthy will have most of the party structure in the district helping him. Paladino has a long-established personal connection to many Republican voters in the district, who are not particularly bothered by his highly negative, incendiary pronouncements. The Trump base will decide this low-turnout primary. Which candidate best represents that base?
  • There is also a Democrat in the race, who does not have a primary, Max Della Pia. A large Republican enrollment advantage is a big challenge, but if Paladino is the Republican candidate in November, Della Pia will attract a great deal of support, even among Republicans who will not want the district to be represented by a New York State version of Marjorie Taylor Greene.
  • The Albany Times-Union and the New York Post have both weighed in with attacks on Paladino. The Times-Union said “[w]hen you have to explain why expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler isn’t the same as, well, admiring Adolf Hitler, you’ve already lost the argument. In Carl Paladino’s case, it should also cost him his run for Congress.” The Post suggested to voters in the 23rd District that “[h]e’s the absolute last person Republicans there (or, heck, anywhere) need to represent them.”
  • The new 61st state Senate district is mostly suburban, including the towns of Amherst, Grand Island, Tonawanda, the City of Tonawanda, and portions of west and north Buffalo. Party enrollment is strongly Democratic. There are actually two incumbents living in the district, Democrat Sean Ryan, and Republican Ed Rath.
  • Both Ryan and Rath have primaries. Ben Carlisle, who received 227 votes last November as a write-in candidate for mayor of Buffalo, is challenging Ryan. Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra is running against Rath. Ryan has the WF Party endorsement, while Rath is also running on the Conservative Party line.

With the prolonged redistricting process, followed by two primaries and then the general election, this will be quite a year for politicos.  Stay tuned.

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