By Sam Foster
I'm very pleased to announce that Raquel Okyay will be joining our coverage at Upstate Political Report. She is a blogger from farther downstate at RaquelOkyay.com and her coverage is extremely impressive. Please check out her insights on Nan Hayworth running in NY-19 and Chris Gibson in NY-20. Today, she hit a homerun with regards to Joe DioGuardi's candidacy to challenge Democrat Senator Kursten Gillibrand. She even includes all the insiders notes on how former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato has been clearing the Republican field for Gillibrand's re-election.
Republican decision-makers in New York missed the boat – big time.
The U.S. Senate junior position currently held by a one-time "conservative" Democrat turned mouth-piece for Sen. Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, is probably the weakest seat in the state. According to a June 14 Sienna College poll, Gillibrand's favorability rating is down six points from last month to a dismal 36%. Here is the perfect opportunity to show the rest of the country that even liberal New York is ripe for upheaval.
New York State Conservative Party got it right when they chose former Congressman Joe DioGuardi as their designated candidate to run against Gillibrand. DioGuardi has a long record of supporting a transparent government that works for the people not at their expense, and in an era of public demands for government restraint, Joe DioGuardi is the obvious choice.
In addition to being pro-life, pro-family and pro-America, Joe wrote the book on sound fiscal policy before it was popular in Unaccountable Congress – It Doesn't Add Up (Regency, 1992).
Joe DioGuardi has written a courageous and practical book about the phony budgeting process Congress uses to sustain its financial profligacy. He has both a keen understanding of its accounting gimmickry and some excellent suggestions about how to straighten out our budgetary tangle" – William E. Simon, Former Secretary of the Treasury
Joe DioGuardi has the name recognition and long line of supporters needed to overcome an incumbent Democrat in New York, yet Republicans either naïve or paid-off, afforded a win to former Long Island Legislator Bruce Blakeman at the rate of 51%.
Republicans working against Joe DioGuardi
The problem with choosing Blakeman is that Blakeman is the choice candidate of the "Gillicrew". The Gillicrew consists of former Republican U.S. Senator from New York Alfonse D'Amato, former Republican Governor, George Pataki, and any other Republican elected official who want Gillibrand to win and the Republican candidate to lose.
After rumors surfaced in early 2009 that Gillibrand would be selected to the U.S. Senate to replace Hillary Clinton (who departed to become Secretary of State), D'Amato went into high gear securing Gillibrand's seat, first making sure Pataki would not enter the race.
Pataki's longtime ally, Al D'Amato, the former senator who still wields major power in the state's fractured GOP, has been actively working behind the scenes to make sure that no one, not even Pataki, challenges Gillibrand, whom he's known since was a baby. – The Village Voice Blogs
Politico.com Blogs describes the long familial relationship between D'Amato and Gillibrand:
Gillibrand's father, Doug Rutnik, is an Albany insider and lobbyist whose ties to former GOP powerhouses Joe Bruno, George Pataki and Al D'Amato are legendary. In fact, Gillibrand won her seat when a state police domestic violence report about the GOP incumbent, John Sweeney, was mysteriously leaked, ostensibly with the acquiescence of the Pataki administration, which had its own reasons to oppose Sweeney. ..Rutnik dated, and eventually lived with, a top Pataki and D'Amato aide for many years, until he broke up with her in 2006 to marry [someone else]. Rutnik and D'Amato have been registered lobbyists for some of the same clients.
The below links show D'Amato being photographed with each candidate at their formal announcement:
The reason why D'Amato picked a candidate from Long Island is because of the weighted vote of registered Republicans in the area compared to the rest of the State. D'Amato was able to peel enough votes to divide the convention and deliver a win for Blakeman – a win that was strategically planned.
Joe DioGuardi – Candidate of the People
Voters are pulling for Joe DioGuardi in spite of D'Amato's tricks, because they know Joe has a history of choosing people over politics and because they also know he is the only candidate who will clean up the corruption if elected.
A Siena Research poll and a Rasmussen poll again confirmed that I am the strongest opponent to Sen. Gillibrand in this race. When asked, New York voters did not echo the feelings of party bosses or the backroom deals they have tried to cut; instead, their support continues to align with our message of fiscal responsibility and standing up for the people, instead of big government and corporate malfeasance. — DioGuardi Campaign Update (June 2010)
New Yorkers: Send a message to the Gillicrew that says NO to pulling strings, NO to cozy jobs, NO to handshakes and payoffs. Support Joe DioGuardi by helping him get on the ballot in September's GOP primary. If Joe wins the GOP primary together with the Conservative Party endorsement, the road is clear to victory in November. Do not be complacent — the time is now.