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

Early voting is underway and the finish line is in sight.  Here are some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets with one week to go in the 2022 elections.

  • It looks like the Democratic boomlet that grew in force during the summer is coming down to earth.  The Republicans will win the House with a gain of 20-25 seats, if those who study such things in great detail can be believed. 
  • Kevin McCarthy is a weak and ineffective leader who already lost the speakership once, before the votes were even counted, when the party’s caucus dropped him for Paul Ryan.  He thinks he can lead with the likes of Margorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Gym Jordan, Paul Gosar, etc. chomping at the bit to dictate their demands to McCarthy.  Greene recently told the New York Times “I think that to be the best speaker of the House and to please the base, [McCarthy is] going to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway.  And if he doesn’t, [the party base is] going to be very unhappy about it. I think that’s the best way to read that. And that’s not in any way a threat at all. I just think that’s reality.”
  • Democrats still have a 50-50 chance to maintain control the Senate 50-50. There are going to be a bunch of nail-biters next week.
  • McCarthy is suggesting that Ukraine will be seeing less financial help if he leads the House, which must make Vladimir Putin very happy.
  • Donald Trump’s strong endorsement of Lee Zeldin should help Kathy Hochul’s march to victory.  Did Zeldin really want that endorsement?
  • Polling suggests a race that has tightened.  Zeldin only won 44 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.  It is likely now that some of the non-Zeldin 56 percent of Republican primary voters are “coming home” to their party’s candidate for governor.
  • The other statewide Republican candidates will see their essentially non-existent campaigns match their paltry vote totals.  Chuck Schumer’s lead in the polls is running at about 15 percent.  Hmm.  In the closest re-election race for Schumer he won by a margin of 28 percent.
  • Locally the races for Erie County Clerk, State Senator in the 61st District, and one of the State Supreme Court seats will highlight Election night.  There are many TV ads running for all of those offices, along with those for Assemblymembers Monica Wallace, Bill Conrad, and Pat Burke.  The Assembly seats are not thought of as competitive, so those ads seem more in the nature of “just in case.”
  • The Law Firm of Ralph C. Lorigo often runs radio ads concerning the services provided by the firm.  The voice on the ads has been the firm’s owner, Ralph Lorigo.  Except recently the voice on the ads is Lorigo’s son Joe, a member of the County Legislature and a candidate for Supreme Court.  The law firm ads could be interpreted as serving as political ads, without the general rules and regulations governing political ads in terms of money raised and spent.  A cursory review of the state Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook doesn’t appear to address the matter of a candidate using ads for the law firm he/she owns or works for to identify their legal experience.  Perhaps that is because there may not have been any previous example of such activity.
  • The website of Republican congressional candidate in the 26th District, Steven Sams II, includes a picture of him in military uniform.  Candidate materials cannot do that without indicating that the picture does not signify an endorsement by the Defense Department.  The disclaimer regarding use of military imagery must be “prominent and clearly displayed.”   Sams’ website does not include the disclaimer.  
  • The debate between Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin broke no new ground and provided no comments or gaffes that could be seen as helping or hurting one candidate or the other. It is the only debate that will take place between them. This is not an unusual development. Nationally there are many senatorial and gubernatorial elections where no debates or only one debate is occurring. Nationally the Republican Party is has pulled away from participation in the Commission on Presidential Debates programs. Debates have become like TV shows, mostly seen by few people with little impact one way or the other.
  • The gubernatorial debate touched on the matter of building a new stadium for the team.  Zeldin complained about the process and basically said that since the team would not move anywhere, the state should not be funding the new stadium and the deal should be re-negotiated.  If Zeldin knew anything about Western New York, he would have understood that the possibility and fear of having the team move elsewhere has been part of our DNA for about 60 years.  The new deal sets that issue to rest for 30 years.  Perhaps if he had consulted with some local Republicans they might have better informed him about the issue.
  • New York and Erie County’s $850 million contribution toward the construction costs of the new stadium will apparently be dwarfed by the folks in Tennessee, who are looking to provide $1.4 billion in government funds toward a projected $2.4 billion needed to build a new stadium for the Titans.
  • The final campaign financial reports for 2022 state and local campaigns were due to be filed last Friday, reflecting spending and fundraising through October 24.  Over the three-week period since the last report Hochul and Zeldin each raised approximately $3.5 million.  A controversy has developed concerning Zeldin’s apparent efforts asking donors to contribute to two dark super PACs that have been assisting him by running attack ads against Hochul.  Coordination between a candidate and his committee and the political activities of PACs is legally prohibited.  And then there is the issue concerning fraudulent independent petitions that the Republicans submitted for Zeldin.
  • How about those Bills?  They are operating like a machine.
  • Buffalo’s new NHL hockey team, the Sabres, are off to a good start.

Politics and Other Stuff will next be published mid-morning on Wednesday, November 9th.

Early voting

Early voting is underway and runs through November 6.  You can vote at any convenient voting location in your county.  Locations and hours of operation in Erie County can be found here .  These are the dates and times in Niagara County.

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