Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sizing up the NY-23 Republican Competition

Let us introduce you all to some of the potential 2010 candidates for NY-23 on the Republican side.

Our First-Tier Candidates:

Matthew Doheny - Doheny is a 39 year-old lawyer/financial consultant, living in the Watertown/Alexandria Bay region, who has a strong base of local support in Jefferson County. Doheny is a top-tier candidate primarily because of his own personal wealth and rumored ability to raise substantial sums of money to fuel his potential candidacy. Upon graduating from Cornell Law School Doheny took a job with a law firm in the Syracuse area and then a few legal and financial positions in New York City. Having tested the political waters in the summer of 2009 Republican selection process, Doheny raised eyebrows at the various regional meetings as one of the top five presenters, who focused his remarks on fixing the economy and his financial experience in making businesses succeed. We are told by several reports that Doheny is not the type who is bothered by critics who say he is a City Man so watch for him to make a more aggressive outreach to the GOP establishment in early 2010 as he begins to build a staff and rake in serious early money that is likely to scare off some of the competition and garner some positive local media coverage. This past December we saw Doheny pull together a small fundraising event that drew nearly 100 people from Jefferson and St. Lawrence County at the Italian-American Club in Watertown.

Douglas Hoffman - Hoffman is an accountant and small business owner from Lake Placid, NY. Hoffman maintains that he owns and runs several offices spread out across the 23rd district and that he knows the voters concerns on jobs and the economy. Hoffman, the 2009 Conservative Party nominee, completely shocked the political world both locally and nationally when he politically cut Dede Scozzafava out by the knees in the fall of 2009. After Scozzafava was picked as the Republican nominee, Hoffman quickly made an alliance with Mike Long and the NYS Conservative Party to run as a third-party candidate, painting Scozzafava as a far left-wing candidate who was out-of-touch with the grassroots Republican base of the district. After gaining dozens of prominent endorsements from people like Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, the Club for Growth, several other outside interest groups and forcing Scozzafava to withdraw from the race, Hoffman came within about 3,000 votes of actually winning the seat, one of the best third-party challenges in US political history. Hoffman has yet to make a public announcement of his intentions for 2010 but most political pundits believe he will enter the race in February, March, or April of this year. According to the FEC, Hoffman has close to $300,000 on hand to spend in the Republican primary should he chose to run. To learn more visit Hoffman's campaign website.

Our Second-Tier Candidates:

Paul Maroun - Maroun is a well-known Franklin County Legislator from Tupper Lake who was also a potential candidate in the summer of 2009. Maroun frequently cites his nearly four decades of government experience on various levels and is seen as a conservative and a very safe choice based on his experience and credentials. With a law degree, prior military experience and having worked for former State Senator Ronald Stafford and current State Senator Elizabeth "Betty" Little, he maintains constant communication with local officials in the eastern end of the district and especially in Clinton and Franklin Counties. However, there are also rumors that he may challenge incumbent Assemblywoman Janet Duprey in 2010 or that Maroun will sit out this round of politics all-together. Drawbacks are that Maroun may be too old to run an aggressive race across a large rural district, that he lives in the eastern part of the district that lacks the population base and lingering questions about how much money he could raise.

Dede Scozzafava - You can check out Wikipedia for Scozzafava's full profile. Her listing is for another time and another blog as we do not believe she will throw her hat into the ring in 2010 after having dropped out of the race the weekend before the 2009 special election against Douglas Hoffman and the ultimate victor, now Democratic Congressman William Owens. One thing for sure is that you can't ever count Dede Scozzafava out of anything. She will likely make an impact on the race for NY-23 in some way, shape or form whether you like it or not. Stay tuned for her voice her opinions in the media as developments unfold. To learn more visit Dede's Assembly website.

Joshua Lynch - Lynch, from Waddington, is a young US Senate Aide who has close contacts with US Senators Sam Brownback and John McCain. A self-described conservative, Lynch was seen by many in 2009 as the surprise candidate for his communication skills and his pragmatic message: prosperity for rural New York, emphasis on job growth and solutions to out-migration of young people from the district. Without significant financial seed money Lynch would likely not be able to make a serious run for NY-23 in 2010. To our knowledge he has not made any significant moves to run in 2010 yet, but look out for him in the future if he decides to continue with upstate politics. According to some Jefferson and St. Lawrence County contacts few young politicos have the national contacts that Lynch has made having worked on three presidential campaigns before the age of 25.

William Barclay - Rumor has it that the National Republican Congressional Committee is looking for an elected official to run for Congress in NY-23. While NYS Assemblyman Barclay may have lost a bitter contest against now State Senator Darrel Aubertine for the 48th Senate District in 2008, we can't necessarily count him out this year against Bill Owens. The Barclay family has money, contacts and ambition, not to mention a very large gap to fill - no other top-tier incumbent official besides State Senators Little or Griffo are likely to even consider making a bid for the seat - creating a significant opening for Barclay to make his case on legislative experience. Some speculate that the Republican aisle of the NYS Senate is on lock-down and that incumbents are being forced against running for federal office because of the chamber's narrow Democrat partisan control. The Assembly is more open, but Barclay has signaled in the past that he is not up for running for any federal position because his two young sons are currently in elementary school and he has other family obligations. Barclay was quoted this past July as saying he feels as though, "there is much more to do in the Assembly and look forward to continuing my work to change Albany." To learn more see Barclay's Assembly website.

Other possible, but very unlikely, candidates include: State Senator Joseph Griffo, State Senator Elizabeth "Betty" Little and Plattsburg Mayor Donald Kasprzak. If there is anyone missing from this list please place a note in the comments section and we will add them on the front page.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Was an Incredible Year in NY-23

Without a doubt 2009 was an incredible year for politics in NY-23.

Who could have ever imagined the end game? There were so many twists and turns to follow that nobody could have predicted. NY-23 was put on the map so to speak and we saw a lot of national attention focused on the special election in the fall. Unfortunately, there also seemed to be a real lack of detailed local news coverage on the race up until the final week. That is part of the impetus of this project which is meant to constructively cover the NY-23 race throughout 2010. Certainly there will be a lot to write about and we will see new questions and issues that come out in the weeks and months ahead.

- Who can win the Republican nomination for Congress?
- What can Obama and the Democrat Congress accomplish post-2009?
- Will Bill Owens build enough support to win his re-election?
- How will other local and state-wide races affect NY-23?
- What will Dede Scozzafava do next?
- Can the Tea Party Movement sustain itself in 2010?
- What personalities and issues will be at the forefront of our local politics?
- And on and on and on (I hope you get the point).

I welcome your input, your comments, and your suggestions as we begin to explore "What's Up in NY-23."