Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Republicans Running for US Senate

There are three Republican candidates who can be considered top challengers for the Republican Party nomination to take on incumbent Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this fall.

Joe DioGuardi was a Congressman from downstate and his daughter was an American Idol judge. He's got almost a million dollars in the bank to challenge Gillibrand, but it's going to take a lot more than that to even make it out of the Republican primary. He's got some solid conservative backing though. Below is a nice 2-minute video of Joe made by a grassroots supporter.

Former Wall Street hand David Malpass just got into the race. He has the endorsement of former Presidential candidate and flat-tax proponent Steve Forbes. Malpass also worked for the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. Malpass announced he has raised over a million dollars for the seat.

Bruce Blakeman has been in the race for a few months now and has the most name ID because of his run for State Comptroller in 1998. Blakeman was also a former Nassau County Legislator and former commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He has former Senator Al D'Amato and he has hired some top tier fundraising consultants earlier this month.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Franklin GOP Supports Candidate Who Dresses Like a Terrorist?

File this one under ugly political optics.

Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman James Ellis is supporting Democrat Executive Steve Levy for New York State Governor. Levy was a Democrat until just a few weeks ago when he decided he wanted to run for Governor. One could argue that Levy is worse than Dede Scozzafava in more ways than one. After all, Scozzafava may have dressed up in weird pink outfits, but at least she didn't dress up as a terrorist!

It is repulsive to think that Chairman James Ellis would abandon the voters of Franklin county who believe in a free and strong America so he can cozy up with liberal Democrats. Who supports candidates that dress up as terrorists anyways? Now rumors are circulating that Ellis is planning on supporting Mr. Wall Street Banker-Lawyer Matt Doheny for NY-23 over Conservative - Republican Doug Hoffman.

Several other Republican county chairs in NY-23 are also supporting Levy and Doheny over Republican Rick Lazio. The questions one has to ask is: are Ellis and some of the other county chairs trying to fracture the Republican Party on purpose? Why can't the county committees just do their job and then endorse the winner of the Republican Party once the fight is over? Does Doheny also support Steve Levy for Governor over Rick Lazio?

The county committees were never originally set up to tear the party apart before the primary happened. The county committees exist to be a support network to recruit candidates, help organize events, educate the public on Republican ideals, push Republican policies, and help fund candidates once they earn the right to be the Republican nominee for political office.

Now these committees function to give credibility and cover to Democrats who dress up like Osama Bin Ladin and carpetbaggers from New York City who traded stocks and dividends on Wall Street. In a sense, the county committees are losing credibility because of their ulterior motives, failure to communicate with the grassroots, uncanny inability to win local races, a capacity to fundamentally tear the GOP apart, and weak leadership.

Update, 4/14/10: Several individuals have e-mailed and said that you can go back 20+ years into anyone's history and find something that disqualifies them for public office. However, it should be pointed out that when Levy dressed up as an unrepentant terrorist on October 31, 1983, it was only 8 days after 241 American Servicemen had died serving our country in Beirut, Lebanon as Islamic terrorists bombed the Marine barracks on October 23, 1983. What sort of a person would show that kind of rash humor just days after the biggest death toll of American service members the US experienced since Vietnam. Levy is not just a bad comedian. He is bad for New York and the Republican Party.

Matt Doheny Uses Scozzafava's Insider Tactics and Buys Supporters

If you thought the backroom deals and insider political maneuvers that were exposed in the aftermath of the NY-23 GOP Special Election last summer were over, think again!

The Republican Party has just launched another major offensive against the Conservative-Republican candidate, Doug Hoffman, in retaliation for his entering the NY-23 congressional race last fall as an alternative candidate to liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Bill Owens. Tonight, just days after George Joseph resigned from his position as Chairman of the Oneida County Republican Party, the local Republican party quickly organized a Monday night meeting to offer its endorsement to rival candidate Matt Doheny. The county endorsement is perplexing to those who will remember that Hoffman ran up the score in Oneida County with 3,225 votes to Owens' 2,243 and Scozzafava's paltry 459. But apparently the Oneida Republicans want to give it away in exchange for something else.

And so again, it appears the fix may in with the establishment good old boys club in NY-23. The news came to us from a local Republican activist who just called and said he heard that the whole meeting was set without even giving Doug Hoffman a hearing, and that he overheard a conversation where it was discussed how Hoffman was purposely not even invited or made aware of the meeting with the county committee so he wouldn’t be able to make his case to the members.

The local activist went on to say that, "the endorsement proceedings I just witnessed over here in Oneida County were the least transparent I have ever seen on the local level. I knew that backroom deals and shady political operations like this existed, but never have I seen something quite like this happen within our own committee. The whole affair tonight wasn't even an honest attempt to be fair. What were the local Republican leaders thinking? It was like some of them were acting like Democrats trying to write a health care bill behind closed doors in the dead of night. Why were the local county officials so afraid of inviting Doug Hoffman so he could make his case? There is obviously something else behind the endorsement that people didn’t know about yet, and it has got to be exposed."

In fairness, the Oneida County Republican insiders weren’t the first Republican leaders to prematurely throw their hat in Doheny’s corner. Just this past week, right as Doheny officially announced his candidacy, he took the endorsements of three other county chairmen in the district, Ron Jackson of Essex County, Donald Lee of Clinton County, and Donald Coon of Jefferson County, who were part of the Scozzafava crowning last fall.

And the local ring-leader of the 2009 Special Election Circus, James Ellis of Franklin County who set up the process for Scozzafava's victory last summer, just so happens to be publicly supporting a registered Democrat, Steve Levy, for the New York Gubernatorial race. Ellis is always doing his best to throw Hoffman under the bus each and every chance he gets near a reporter. So it is clear there is an organized effort by the county Republican leadership to block Hoffman organizationally and in the media.

The public support of inside party leaders is a function of at least two things that we can identify at the moment: 1) a resentment of conservatism in general and Doug Hoffman in particular, a man who utterly embarrassed and exposed the shady backroom dealings of the local Republican establishment, and 2) money.

Not only have Republican leaders been looking for an alternative to Hoffman in 2010, but they have now found an alternative who is willing and able to float large checks to local candidates and party leaders in exchange for public support. Public records show that Doheny has written nearly $30,000 in checks to county chairs, local elected officials, and the state party to gain influence and early momentum in his bid to beat Hoffman for the Republican nomination.

Another source told me that, "Doheny is willing to hand out money to anyone who is willing to help him, a sort of political quid pro quo. He likes to give money to candidate he thinks will help him down the line. And by looking at his records it shows he doesn't have any principles. Why else would he give Dede Scozzafava $2,400 for her election bid?" In other words, some are making the subtle claim that Doheny is aiming to win a congressional seat the old fashioned way – he is going to buy his seat.

But there are clear disadvantages to running a campaign on the inside lane. First off, the local Republican Party has failed miserably to win the 48th State Senate seat and the 118th Assembly seat. And the Oneida County Coup tonight is really a stunning example of what voters rejected last year and what helped propel Doug Hoffman into the national conservative spotlight. For a local county party like Oneida's, that can only boast nearly 7,000 Republican voters, to quickly circle the wagons make a public endorsement on behalf of all its members for Doheny's campaign shows a remarkable ability to throw the rules out the window and forget their 2009 debacle.

For those political animals who want to look to the history books on how we ended up with Scozzafava it started the same way. One report of the cussed up nomination process last year stated that it was, “orchestrated by two powerful liberal members of the local Republican Party organization, and was aided and abetted by several politically inexperienced local county leaders who failed to grasp the tactical significance of shunning the Conservative Party and did not fully understand the details of their nominee’s record, or her potential vulnerabilities…”

Unfortunately, those who forget history are often times bound to repeat it. And this post is just barely scratching the surface on how some local Republican leaders in NY-23 are up to their old antics again this year. The real significance of the Oneida County Coup is that now voters and Republican party activists are willing to speak out against the county leaders who got us into this similar mess with Scozzafava in 2009. And I’m being told that those Republican activists are not willing to go down without making a stink about the sausage making factories that are the local Republican County Committees. These kinds of strong arm tactics and secret endorsement meetings are not the way for Republicans to win elections in 2010.