The mid-term election day edition of facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets

Today is Election Day – the mid-term of all mid-terms. This one feels a lot different. Sort of like Super Bowl Sunday, especially when your team was playing that day. Come on, you can remember how that felt.

I’m not offering any specific predictions here. After all that has been said, written and done, you can draw your own conclusions about what is about to happen. Try to be objective, because like it or not we are all about to come face-to-face with political reality.

Be sure to vote! Vote in honor of the people in states like Georgia and Kansas where voting is restricted. Hope that someday New York will enter the 21st century and offer early voting and a more rational process for voter registration.

There are going to be a whole lot of very close races. More than ever, voter turnouts for the Republicans and the Democrats are critical this year.

Vote today with a purpose, not a vendetta. There are a lot of important issues facing the nation and our state, and clear thinking is better than reacting to silly conspiracy theories. As Melania Trump says, “Be Best.”

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

  • The local election night focus will be on offices currently held by Republicans: Congressmen Chris Collins and Tom Reed; Assemblymen Ray Walter, Eric Bohen, and David DiPietro; and County Clerk Michael Kearns. There are no local Democratic officeholders who are being seriously challenged.
  • The viciousness of the Republican TV ads shows certain candidates have concluded that talking positive won’t work for them. This is particularly true when the candidate is under indictment. Collins’ ads have been radically off-base. Reed shifted from positive to negative advertising, which indicates that that race is closer than many people might imagine.
  • Emails from candidates of both parties continued to pour in a day or two before the election, asking for donations. What would they do with a donation that arrived yesterday except pay for things that they have already produced, aired and mailed?
  • The September Democratic primaries signal increased turnout today. Will Democratic State Chairman Byron Brown produce enough votes in Buffalo to allow Andrew Cuomo to carry Erie County? What will Republican State Chairman-in-waiting Nick Langworthy’s Erie County turnout do to show his party’s strength?
  • An interesting development in Amherst. After Amherst Town Board Member Francina Spoth was tossed from the Democratic line for Town Clerk by the courts because of a failure to follow legal procedures, Amherst Democrats were forced to try to elect Spoth on the Conservative Party line — something many Erie County Democrats have been avoiding in recent elections. Campaign postcards for Spoth indicate the ballot position but played down her Conservative Party endorsement.
  • Just wondering, does this have anything to do with Democratic Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa attending the Conservatives’ weekly Saturday breakfast recently?
  • And how about the robocall going to Amherst voters saying that Spoth is on the Conservative line while berating Conservative Party positions on issues like guns, abortion and Donald Trump? The Republicans are usually allies with the Conservatives, but these calls that are trying to torpedo the Conservative candidate for Clerk, which would benefit the Republican candidate for town clerk, Jeffery Zeplowitz.
  • In a related matter, the same Democratic transaction that had the Party place Spoth on the line for Amherst Clerk also certified Democratic candidates for the Town Board of Cheektowaga and the Eden Town Clerk positions. Evidently the Republicans did not challenge those certifications, even though the Democrats for the offices, holding no minor party lines on the ballot, could have been tossed from the election under the same law. The Cheektowaga Republicans lost the chance to elect one of their own by default. Somebody was sleeping at the switch.
  • It sure sounds like the Democrats may take the State Senate. There are only three Democratic senators north of Westchester County, including Tim Kennedy in Buffalo. Where will that leave upstate? What might it cost us?
  • Some folks are concerned that Democratic control of Governor’s office, the Assembly, and the Senate could jeopardize fusion voting, forcing minor parties to run their own affiliated voters rather than endorse a Democrat or a Republican. That could significantly affect future elections in the state.
  • Speaking of the minor parties, which of the six that currently exist will survive today’s election? Will they all get the required 50,000 votes to remain on the ballot for the next four years? The Cuomo inspired Women’s Equality Party and the Rob Astorino created Reform Party are the most likely casualties today. The Conservatives will likely continue to hold the third line on the ballot.
  • Will the City of Lockport elect Michelle Roman as the first Democratic mayor in about twenty years?
  • Some other stuff: Vic Carucci is right —the Bills season is effectively over, even with seven games yet to play. My pre-season prognostication about 5 wins seems optimistic now. It’s really hard to watch the defense guys play their hearts out while witnessing the total collapse of the offense.
  • I don’t follow hockey much, but the Sabres seem to be doing something right. It’s still a little early, however, to order playoff tickets.

Tune to WBFO 88.7 FM tonight where I will be joining Warren Galloway to discuss election results with News Director Dave Debo.

County issues in the forefront

It’s budget time in Erie County. Town budgets for 2019 are quietly moving along. Not a lot of media focus on them, which is not a good thing. The focus, such as it is, is on Mark Poloncarz’s proposed $1.53 billion 2019 county budget.

While there will be another budget revealed a year from now, just prior to the 2019 election for Erie County Executive, the 2019 budget that the County Legislature will act on by early December is for all intents and purposes the budget that will play a role in the 2019 election concerning spending and tax issues. Continue reading

What if Donald Trump owned the Buffalo Bills instead of being President of the United States?

Every week of the Trump administration brings new excitement. Not the kind of excitement that you can enjoy. More like the excitement of hundred foot drop of a roller coaster that might make you a bit sick.

As Trump jettisons some of the more intelligent and stable members of his administration we are being told by the pundits that he is “unshackled” from John Kelly, aiming to do and say as he pleases. So fasten your seat beats.

What we are talking about here is basically the fate of the United States and the world. But what if Trump’s act was played out on a more important stage for many residents of Western New York? What if, instead of being President of the United States, Trump instead was the owner of the Buffalo Bills? Continue reading

The collateral damage of Wilson’s withdrawal from the gubernatorial race; if you’re explaining, you’re losing; a chance to have a say about Buffalo’s next budget

Farewell, Harry, we hardly knew ‘ya

Last week’s news that Republican businessman Harry Wilson will pass on the opportunity to run for governor certainly has serious consequences for the Republican Party. State Chairman Ed Cox convened a meeting of party leaders on Monday in Albany to interview the remaining potential GOP nominees: former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra; Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb; and State Senator John DeFrancisco. Aside from the interviews, the party is trying to figure out where it is going. The New York Daily News story about the meeting made use of such words as “panic,” “desperate,” and “depressing.” Continue reading

The Bills at the bye week

Well, wasn’t it fun for the first four weeks? And then came Cincinnati.

I was recently encouraged by an old friend who asked for some Trump relief and suggested a post about the Bills. I’m obliging, Tony, but I’m not sure if this qualifies as relief.

My pre-season prognosis suggested that the Bills might finish the season with 5 wins and 11 losses as part of a tanking season designed to help draft a franchise quarterback in 2018. The 5 wins for the season total may seem a little iffy, but it might not be that far off. Continue reading