Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Latest Disappointment

Most days I am a very happy bunny. But today I felt great disappointment. The reason: for the first time since What's Up NY-23 launched I have been flatly denied an interview request.

The conversation went like this... On January 3rd I kindly asked Assemblywoman Janet Duprey if she would be willing to answer some questions for our readers. The questions were pretty easy, like most of the other interviews we have done over the past several weeks -- what are your core principles, what are the issues you will run on in 2010, what are your major accomplishments in office, what did you think the NY-23 special election and the direction of the party, etc.

I thought I had the Assemblywoman lined up for a post when she responded on January 11th that she would answer my questions once she found the time. Then, a few days later she had a sudden change of heart. She had questions about who I was and what the blog was all about. Maintaining hope that the assemblywoman would still be willing to participate and share with our readers her thoughts on politics and her upcoming campaign, I responded on January 14th about the purpose of this blog, the reason for my anonymity, etc. Then today I get her response/rebuke. Here is what she wrote today in response to my request earlier this month,
I have given your request considerable thought. I do not follow any blogs, including yours, so being on a blog is not something that interests me.
In addition, I have never given any credibility to a person who is 'anonymous'. If someone does not have the courage and integrity to identify himself/herself, I have always refused any dialogue.
Thank you for contacting me. Should circumstances change later in the year, I may at that time decide to respond.
I have to admit that it hurt to be called uncourageous. It hurt that my integrity was challenged. In any event, I hope circumstances will change later in the year, and that the assemblywoman will reconsider. Voters want to know who the assemblywoman really is and what she really stands for. It is important for our political leaders to share their thoughts so that the voters can have a real chance to make informed votes, and so that together we can encourage more dialogue and greater participatory democracy. No one wants a censored and watered down political environment. People want to talk about the future and how to fix our problems. Unfortunately, in this case, it seems my anonymity has becoming a bit of a liability in my attempt to get information out to the general public. To all of my readers I am very sorry about this.

Hopefully, I can turn it around and score another good interview with a different candidate. If you know of one please have their campaign e-mail me at I'm putting up a poll on my sidebar to see whether you, the people, believe Janet Duprey should answer some of our questions so that we can have a lively debate on the future direction of New York and this great country.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kudlow v. Schumer 2010?

There is lots of action in New York State politics since the Brown victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

The biggest, I think, is what appears to be a draft movement by some tea-party folks and fiscal conservatives to line up support for CNBC economic commentator, Larry Kudlow, to challenge Senator Chuck Schumer. Schumer has always been incredibly popular throughout New York and is a long-time and well-established national Democrat. He won re-election in 2004 with just over 64% of the vote. Rumors are abound that Schumer could even be next in line for the Senate Majority Leader perch.

Kudlow has a personal history, but he has lots of media and money contacts. He also holds some pretty solid credentials having worked in the Reagan White House. I think a Schumer-Kudlow matchup would draw intense national attention and it would certainly be an incredible race to witness in 2010. But the question is -- would Kudlow really give up his job and make a run at it? He was quoted in Newsmax today saying, "I am honored by the talk and the consideration." You can see the Draft Kudlow site by going to He also has been writing on his own blog for a long time. You can read it here.

Bruce Blakeman is getting traction in his bid for the Republican nomination. It looks like Pataki is still AWOL on making a run. But even if Blakeman coasts to victory in the primary is it enough? Blakeman might have an opportunity to further capitalize on Senator-elect Scott Brown's victory on Tuesday, but right now all of the focus remains on the Gillibrand-Ford primary. Yesterday, the New York Times quoted Blakeman in what appears to be a populist rhetoric appealing to voters who are angry and frustrated. He asked, "You are angry? I will fight for you. You are worried? I will work to protect you. You are frustrated, and your voice will be heard..."

Maybe anything is possible after Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts. However, we saw over the last year how politics can be incredibly volatile. If the White House and Congressional Democrats can rebound and put forth a credible jobs proposal they might not be as vulnerable as conventional wisdom portrays. For now the momentum clearly seems to be with the GOP, but that momentum can evaporate quickly for any number of reasons. There is lots of time and lots of issues ahead that will play a factor. The 2010 elections are shaping up quickly to be a referendum on the Obama White House. The ball is in the President's court to a large extend and he can be a pretty good shooter when he is focused.

Here is a breakdown of how President Obama did in 2008 and how President Bush did in 2004. The numbers in both states are pretty similar.


New York

Obama 2008



McCain 2008



Kerry 2004



Bush 2004



Brown 2010



Coakley 2010



Interview with Matt Flynn II Running for County Legislature

Today I want to share with you an interview with an 18-year old Republican from St. Lawrence County named Matt Flynn. Young Mr. Flynn announced earlier this week that he is going to run for a seat on the St. Lawrence County Legislature. Tedra Cobb has held the seat for several years and recently announced that she will not be running again in 2010. We hope to catch up with her at some point to see what her political future might hold - an assembly seat, a future state senate bid? The only other Republican looking at the district 8 seat to my knowledge is Kevin Acres. I wasn't planning on covering any county races this soon, but I got a few e-mails from people interested in hearing what the young guy has to say about politics and county government. If Kevin or anyone who knows him reads this please be in touch so we can learn more about the potential Acres candidacy as well. Now onto the interview with Young Mr. Flynn. Here it is!

Buggs Buddy Question: Matt, thank you for agreeing to taking the time to participate in our interview. Can you tell us about your background, what you do now and your first experience in organized politics? Can you also tell us a little bit about your first involvement in politics?

Matt Flynn II Response: All my life, I have taken an interest in Government and Politics. I distinctively remember watching Fox News with my grandfather at age six. By the time I was twelve or thirteen years old, I was drinking coffee and watching the O’Reilly Factor with my Grandfather. After every show, it was a common practice to continue discussing a show topic for twenty minutes of longer.

It wasn’t until about four or five years ago that I started to take an interest in local politics. After my father was elected to Ogdensburg City Council, I would always ask him about national issues. Since he was so overwhelmed with local politics, his focus was primarily on local issues. I’ll never forget what he told me one day, he said son “all politics is local.” I realize he is not the first person to say this, but this phrase could not have been truer. The point he stressed to me was that as a Northern New Yorker, it is nearly impossible to have a significant impact on federal elections and federal issues. However, one person can make a huge difference on the local level. My father was also right, in saying that most issues begin locally and work their way up the ladder. In other words, if I wanted to make a difference, I needed to start locally.

Since then, it has been history. I started attending local village and town board meetings, along with the county legislature meetings. I have been attending the county meetings for nearly 2 years now. I founded the Canton High School Republicans, and currently serve as an executive board member for the St. Lawrence County Republican Committee.

BB: Why did you initially decide to run for county legislature?

MF: As someone who has lived in St. Lawrence County for almost my entire life, my dream is to one day raise a family here. This dream of mine is shared by many citizens in St. Lawrence County.

However, many of these individuals are being forced out of St. Lawrence County. Not because they want to leave; but because they have to in order to find jobs. If I graduated college tomorrow, I’m not sure if I would be able to fulfill my dream to stay in St. Lawrence County.

I believe that I have the skills and passion necessary to excel as a legislator; St. Lawrence County needs more jobs so that our citizens will no longer be forced to leave. Our greatest export should not be our people forced out because of a job shortage. As a legislator, I plan to work towards bringing additional jobs to this area, so that those who choose to call St. Lawrence County home. Will no longer be forced to leave the place that they love.

BB: I understand that you are running in the Republican primary against Kevin Acres. Can you give us some sense of why you think voters should pick you and if you think there are any differences between your candidacy and Kevin's?

MF: Kevin is a nice guy. I believe my ability to listen and talk with the people will give me an advantage. Few elected officials, and candidates, take the time to sit down and listen to what the people have to say. Throughout my life, I have learned that the skill to listen to others is one of the most valuable skills one may possess. The people of St. Lawrence County have many great ideas that I am eager to discuss.

BB: You must have followed the NY-23 Congressional race closely last year. I understand that you worked on both the Scozzafava and Hoffman campaigns. What place do you think there is for moderate or more liberal Republicans in the GOP today? What do you think is the proper direction of the Republican Party?

MF: I like to think of the Republican Party as a big tent, and under this tent is room for many different candidates. As far as the future direction of the party, I think we have some strong candidates for the upcoming 2010 elections, and time will tell the future direction of the party.

BB: What would you say your core message is and do you think voters are willing to put their trust in such a young person to handle complex county issues? Can you win?

MF: Over the last week, I have been fortunate enough to meet with numerous citizens who live in the 8th district. Rather meeting them at Stewarts, or receiving emails or phone calls, I am always delighted to hear what the people think about our County Government and the Issues affecting St. Lawrence County. Every day, I am getting a positive response from the community. Those who know me are confident that I have the skills and passion necessary to do the job. Those who do not, want to have the chance to meet with me first and discuss the issues then decide.

Thus far, everyone I have met has been impressed with my interest in the county government, and knowledge on the issues. Over the last two years, I have learned a lot while attending the county legislature meetings. I realize there may be some concern that I have not spent a lot of time in government. However, I have lived in St. Lawrence County long enough to know that we need change.

BB: I understand that you will be a freshman at Clarkson University next fall. Do you think you will be able to balance your personal commitment to furthering your education and should you be elected, your commitments to helping the county?

MF: The majority of legislators have a full time job, and are a Legislator part time. I plan on doing something similar, Clarkson University will be my full time job, but I plan on dedicating more time to the legislature than a part time job.

BB: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you and this race?

MF: I would like to remind everyone of a recent editorial written by Chuck Kelly from the Ogdensburg Journal titled “Take Matt Flynn II Seriously.” In this editorial Chuck says that when choosing a candidate for the District 8 seat; it should not matter if a candidate is 18 or if he is 50.

BB: Please share something non-political about yourself that our readers might find interesting.

MF: I currently serve as the Captain of the Canton Varsity High School Hockey Team, and whenever I have a spare moment, I enjoy hunting, fishing, and barbershop talks.

BB: Thanks again for your time and for answering our questions. We look forward to following your campaign in the weeks and months ahead. You can learn more about Matt Flynn II and his campaign effort by visiting his website, Best of luck to you in 2010!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mayor Graham Still Can't ID Me

A few weeks ago Mayor Graham speculated that I was Scott Gray and he must have figured out by now that he was wrong. Today Mayor Graham asks if What's Up NY-23 is a "house organ for the Hoffman campaign" because of a "clear effort to cast Doheny and Barclay as pro choice (aka Dede clones)?" First let me say very clearly that this is not a pro-Hoffman blog. I just happened to provide commentary based on a publicly released poll that is based on fact and political analysis.

Second, the fact that Mayor Graham is already trying to spin or defend the assumption that both Doheny and Barclay are in fact moderates raises questions of its own. Now I'm not saying that being a moderate is good or bad. It just is what it is. If two moderates are running against one conservative, clearly they are going to split the vote and leave the conservatives with one place to go. That was the true intention of my blog post. The same would be true if there were two conservatives running against one moderate. Conservatives would split the vote and leave the moderate with the prize of winning the primary.

On that note, if you read my blog post from yesterday you will see that I never made any claim that either candidate was a Dede clone. For one, they are both better looking and neither supports card check legislation, homosexual marriage or is seeking the Working Families Party nod as far as I am aware. I wrote yesterday in the first paragraph of my post that I have not yet taken sides in either the primary or the general election.

On the issue of both Barclay and Doheny being pro-choice, however, I think that point is rather obvious. For better or worse, both Doheny and Barclay are, in fact, pro-choice Republicans. Neither potential candidate has ever claimed to be pro-life and neither have refuted numerous media reports that they are pro-choice. When 64% of Republican primary voters describe themselves as pro-life, that creates a wedge that these candidates will have to deal with in their own way.

Regarding Doheny, Sal Gentile with the Capitol Report, a must-read paper of the Albany government and political community, wrote as recently as December 15th that he is, "a pro-choice Manhattan lawyer who has already channeled as much as half a million dollars into his campaign account, has won the favor of more moderate Republicans because he would not have to depend on outside interest groups for money." Political IV said, Republicans at the VFW in Gouverneur on July 14th of last year were "caught off guard with his position on the hot button pro-life versus pro-choice issue." The Riehl World Blog also called Doheny "pro-choice." Doheny has never disputed this record even though he has been prone to release statements ad nauseam anytime another candidate says anything or puts out a statement. He has not corrected the record yet, so I have to assume he is pro-choice according to these reports and what he is personally saying to people in NY-23.

But the important thing I want to get across is that the claim that I am somehow trying to influence the election in Hoffman's favor is short-sighted. If I really wanted to sabotage other candidates I would write about how both Barclay and Doheny think they can win this election the old fashioned way -- they both think they can buy off the people's votes. The Barclay family, I presume, has all sorts of money to contribute to this race. And Doheny gave $10,000 to the New York Federal Republican Campaign Committee less than three months ago. He also gave his own campaign a half a million in 2009. I don't talk about these types of things generally though because I'm not into that type of thing.

Here at What's Up NY-23 we are interested in the issues and real news, not insinuations. With that said, I object to the mayor's claim that this is a Hoffman blog. The mayor's question is comparable to someone questioning whether he took money from Doheny to write favorable things about that candidate on his blog and to also say favorable things about Doheny's vehicle on "the Hotline" today. Unfortunately, these kinds of assertions rival the Watertown Daily Times in terms of credibility.

Now come on, lets try to be fair, balanced and reasonable. That's what's up in NY-23 today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Did Martha Coakley Just "Scozzafava" Her Race?

Right now, with only 60% of the vote reported in, I am calling the Massachusetts Senate race for Scott Brown.

Clearly, Martha Coakley just "Scozzafava'd" the race for the US Senate, a seat held by the late liberal lion, Senator Teddy Kennedy. Coakley relied on the establishment, underestimated her opponent and took liberal positions on key issues, thus causing her to completely blow it. The key word tonight is arrogance. Scozzafava and Coakley shared the same attitude toward voters. Both politicians thought they were smarter, wiser and entitled to their seats in Congress.

Tonight, the American people in Massachusetts have spoken! Tomorrow the pundits will recognize that the political landscape, as we known it today, will be forever changed.

Doug Hoffman Smokes NY-23 & Leaves Competition in the Dust

Doug Hoffman just laid down the gauntlet and set the stage for his entrance into the NY-23 race with the release of a new poll showing him in a very comfortable lead among Republicans of all shapes and sizes from all across NY-23. It looks like there are only 4 candidates in the mix for NY-23 at this point. Within that group the numbers look incredibly favorable to Doug Hoffman in the primary and the general elections. While I haven’t taken sides in the primary or the general yet, I think these might be convincing reasons to reconsider a Hoffman candidacy if you are not already a supporter.

4-way ballot

Hoffman v. Barclay

Hoffman v. Doheny





















Nearly 75% of the Republican primary voters believe Doug Hoffman should run again for Congress. There is no spinning that impressive figure, or his impressive showing as a Conservative on Line D last year. I don't remember a third-party candidate ever doing as well as Hoffman did last year in the last several decades, anywhere in the country.

And based on my knowledge of the poll numbers released today and taking into account Hoffman’s favorable/unfavorable ratings, his ID is worth upwards of $900,000 in 2010. In fact, Hoffman’s polling was so strong that 71% of Republican primary voters agree that if he runs with the Republican and Conservative lines he can beat Democrat Bill Owens – only 13% of respondents didn’t think Hoffman could win. It would be interesting to see how many Independents and Democrats think Hoffman could beat Owens if he had an R and a C at the end of his name next fall.

The fact that 58% of Republican primary voters prefer a conservative candidate over a moderate candidate is also very good news for Hoffman. The only thing better is that 62% consider themselves conservative and 64% say they are pro-life. These numbers bode well for Hoffman who is aligned with a clear majority of Republican primary voters who consider themselves conservative. As evidence of this, today’s poll shows that in the 4-way ballot Hoffman did 56 times better than Doheny and 2 ½ times better than Barclay.

These figures also put two of Hoffman’s potential primary opponents, Will Barclay and Matt Doheny who are both on record as pro-choice candidates, at a significant disadvantage on social issues. Even if one of these candidates were to drop out of the race they would still be in the minority among NY-23 Republican primary voters.

Barclay is clearly at a disadvantage because of his association with the failed New York State Legislature. Doheny, who has been in a defensive posture from the very beginning, has clear negatives due to his association with investment banking in New York City and he is in 4th place in today’s poll. What’s worse for Hoffman’s competitors is that both Barclay and Doheny would presumably be competing for voters in the same ideological wing of the GOP and also from the same geographic regions in Oswego and Jefferson Counties. It is still early, but I find it very hard to believe that any amount of money can make up that difference we see today, less than 10 months out from the Republican primary.

Paul Maroun, a conservative and the only other potential Republican candidate in NY-23 besides Hoffman with military experience, has not announced his intention to run for NY-23. There have been no signs of Maroun making a bid in NY-23 over the past several weeks and the shorter the schedule gets the harder it will be for Maroun to raise enough money to be competitive. My guess is that if he does not announce his intention to run for Congress, he will either support Hoffman or likely not endorse any other candidate. Either scenario makes it harder for a challenger to beat Hoffman for the Republican nomination as Maroun conservatives rally behind Hoffman.

Hoffman laid out an impressive case today that if Republicans in NY-23 really care about beating Bill Owens in 2010 they can do it by rallying political support around him. I suspect that if the Republican Party were to do so early they would greatly diminish the likelihood of an expensive and damaging Republican primary while simultaneously improving Republican chances of beating Owens this fall. If they don’t, all bets are off and NY-23 leans a Democrat hold.

Doug Hoffman

Will Barclay

Matt Doheny

Paul Maroun











No Opinion





Never Heard of





The desperate spin being pushed by Barclay and Doheny on this afternoon is indicative of a politics of yesteryear, and an indictment that conservativism is alive and on the rise again this year. To put it bluntly, Barclay and Doheny's reaction to today's poll just reaffirmed that Hoffman is the only viable conservative in the race and the man to beat.

Neither potential challenger made even a vague reference to their desire to reach out to the conservative base of the party which will determine who the nominee will be, instead we read that "Hoffman got what he paid for" and saw another tired appeal to represent our "diverse" interests.