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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paul Tonko: New York's Top Double Dipper in the US House

By Bill Claydon

Cross posted on Red State

Career politician and freshman Democrat US House member Paul Tonko (D-NY 21) has a great income courtesy the taxpayers. The New York Daily News recently did a spotlight on US House members from New York State who are double dipping. In fact, Tonko is the clear winner, getting $64,641 annually from New York State on top of a base salary of $174,000 for serving in the US House. Tonko spent much of his career as an Assemblyman from Amsterdam, NY.

Maybe receiving a minimum $238,641 in tax money is why Paul Tonko had no problem enthusiastically supporting ObamaCare, which contains an unconstitutional mandate for every citizen to buy health insurance. These kinds of costs, expensive to the average citizen, are a blip on Tonko's double dipping radar. As one of the most liberal members of the US House in the entire country --- who has spent most of his career in elected office --- he does not seem to show much concern for the generational theft he has helped to heap on our great grandchildren. Of course, those are the great grandchildren that are actually born. Mr. Tonko is a rock solid vote in favor of the ability to abort innocent babies.

According to the article, even Democrat attorney general Andrew Cuomo has criticized double dipping.

As the lead double dipper in New York's US House delegation, Mr. Tonko should show us true leadership and consider doing his part to ease New York's fiscal woes. He should voluntarily pledge not to take his New York State retirement while serving in Congress. Consider this: If Colonel Gibson (challenger for NY 20, not the district Tonko serves) who spent a career putting his life on the line for our country, wins his congressional race he will have to give up his military pension while serving in Congress. The fact that Mr. Tonko happened to be a career politician at the state level while Colonel Gibson was on the federal payroll while serving our country is a rather trivial distinction.

Mr. Tonko's opponent, Ted Danz, built a career running his own successful business. He understands what it means to make a payroll, to worry about budgets, etc. He is not able to draw on the taxpayers as Mr. Tonko does. If Danz makes a mistake, he sees the cost firsthand. If Mr. Tonko votes for a mistake, taxpayers like Danz see the cost. In fact, mistake or not, taxpayers see the cost of all of Mr. Tonko's votes.

Scott Murphy Does More Last Minute Town Halls

By Bill Claydon

For those who remember the children’s game Where’s Waldo I think a new game called Where’s Murphy? might be a hit. Scott Murphy, incumbent Democrat Congressman from New York’s 20th District, held lots of well announced town halls in 2009 only a few months after winning a special election. Now, in 2010, he seems to be pretty scarce.

Murphy can claim that is he around by holding last minute town halls with barely any notice. How can he help it if so few arrive? He held one in Halfmoon, NY, which according to my source, did not go well. I was informed he plans to hold one in Keene, NY at the extreme northern end of the district on August 31st. The press release went out on August 30th. That’s a lot of time for people from the more populated areas of his district to make plans to get there. According to, this town has a population of around 1,000.

On August 30th, another press release announced Murphy’s plans to hold a town hall meeting in Pleasant Valley, NY in Dutchess County, on September 1st. According to Pleasant Valley had a population of almost 2,000 as of July 2007.

I want to be clear that I support people in rural areas getting a visit from their Congressman. They deserve the opportunity to question him as much as anyone else. But it’s a bit much to suddenly go to these areas after a summer of hardly being available with decent notice in more populated areas.

In looking through the press releases, I learned Murphy had a town hall in the populated area of Saratoga Springs on August 27th (two days’ notice), but it was only open to residents of a specific nursing home. Hmm, could the August 23rd event at another nursing home have anything to do with that decision?

Murphy has a page listing all the places he has visited in the 20th district. His staff still gets to place a virtual push pin in Saratoga Springs for the visit restricted to residents of a specific nursing home.

By contrast, Scott Murphy’s challenger, Colonel Chris Gibson, gives plenty of notice for his “Chris is in YOUR corner” town hall events. If Murphy truly stands behind his record of voting almost 90% with Nancy Pelosi, he should be able to host the same level of town hall events he did last year. He should be able to explain his votes to people from all walks of life. He should have been doing this throughout August. Soon, Congress will be back in session and Murphy won’t have to hold anymore town halls where people might question his voting record. He can just use his campaign war chest to run television ads asking for votes in November.

Nan Hayworth’s Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour come up with best campaign video so far this year

By Sam Foster

This has been the election season for great conservative campaign videos. Dale Peterson pulled no punches as he strut in a video armed with a Winchester, Fiorina’s Demon Sheep, and even a weird, off-beat ad from Republican Mattie Fein; a spin on Young Frankenstein.

However, I think Nan Hayworth’s Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour certainly deserves a spot in the finalist category with their recently released music video “Vote with me.”

Nan Hayworth is running to unseat John Hall for NY’s 19th congressional district. For the many of you who don’t remember the 70’s, John Hall was the front man for the band Orleans. The group hit it big with song “Still the one” and “Dance with me.” Young Voters’ video is a spoof on “Dance with me.”

Note to political candidates, snag up young conservatives and get them involved. You won’t be sorry.


Vote with me
Let’s make John Hall leave Washington DC
And get him out and touring
We are calling
And John Hall’s stalling
Vote with me

The economy
John Hall supports a failed policy
And has prolonged a crisis
Wasteful spending
Is never ending
Vote with me

Let it lift you out of DC
On the road and maybe out to sea
We can take you
We want you to go

That is the band John Hall used to lead
Before he entered Congress
Start the tour
It’s waiting for you
Vote with me

Chris Gibson gets bumped to top tier in NRCC’s Young Guns program

By Sam Foster
Via Hotline On Call

The NRCC recently bumped 6 additional Republican challengers to the top tier of their campaign program "Young Guns."  Chris Gibson, running against incumbent Scott Murphy for NY's 20th Congressional District was among them.  Mr. Gibson's name brings the top tier total up to 52 candidates.

Hotline On Call reports:

The candidates are state Rep. Sandy Adams (R) in FL-24, surgeon Dan Benishek (R) in MI-01, ret. Army Col. Chris Gibson (R) in NY-20, auto dealer Mike Kelly (R) in PA-03, funeral homes owner Steve Southerland in FL-02 (R) and ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster (R) in FL-08.

If there's a surprise on the list, it's Gibson, who came out of nowhere to post an extremely strong second quarter fundraising haul. He represents the GOP's top shot at avenging the special election loss last year when Kristin Gillilbrand (D) was appointed to the Senate. Gibson is at a CoH disadvantage to Rep. Scott Murphy (D), though, having $452K to Murphy's $1.3M. A conservative American Action Forum poll released last week showed Murphy holding a 45% to 40% lead.

Gibson's campaign released the following statement upon receiving the news:

Chris Gibson's campaign for Congress continues to build on its momentum heading into the 60 day sprint to Election Day on November 2nd.  In addition to the upgrades this month to "Toss Up" ratings from the New York Times and Real Clear Politics, a third party poll showing Gibson within the margin of error and a strong first debate contrasting his views with the incumbent, the campaign is ending August as a recognized top tier challenger in the National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) Young Guns program.
"By moving us from 'Contender' to their top tier 'Young Gun' status, the NRCC has recognized that our campaign has the support and momentum necessary to win this race.  This is a signal of their confidence in our campaign," said Gibson. "This means that our campaign has proven we can be competitive. Our message of reducing spending, cutting taxes and reducing the size of government is a great contrast to my opponent's voting record of continually expanding the size and scope of government. Washington is broken and people all across the ten counties of the 20th Congressional District are looking for new leadership to work on reigning in government and helping get our economy back on track.  I look forward to continuing to earn the voters' trust and support so we can work together to renew the private sector job growth and opportunities possible in America."

Another notable candidate bump included Daniel Webster running to unseat the despicable Alan Grayson in FL's 8th CD.

Chris Gibson is correct about the Depression: They do still teach economics in Albany, right?

By Sam Foster
Via Capital Confidential

Time to put my economics hat on and for many of my readers to take a nap.

Jimmy Vielkind, an excellent writer/blogger for the Albany Times Union, seemed a bit flummoxed at Chris Gibson's statement following last week's debate (Chris Gibson is running against Democrat incumbent Scott Murphy for NY's 20th Congressional District).  I must stress that writer, Jimmy Vielkind, admitted that he was not very familiar with economics.  So, I thought I'd help Mr. Vielkind with his economics history and give him a little advice…Don't source Wikipedia…please.

During the debate, Chris Gibson provided a narrative on how government intervention prolonged the Great Depression.

During their first debate on Thursday evening, Gibson said that "this is not the time to raise taxes, not in the middle of a recession" in response to a question about letting the Bush-era tax cuts (Gibson referred to them as "the people's tax cuts" and Murphy, D-Glens Falls, referred to them as "the Bush tax cuts") expire. Gibson then added (it's about 28 minutes into this video):

"It's not a good idea. You know what happened in 1929? They raised taxes twice and went from 6.5 percent unemployment to 13 percent unemployment, and then to 25 percent unemployment. That's the real truth of what happened. All that, by the way, was a year after the crash of the stock market."

To which Mr. Vielkind questioned Gibson's narrative in a piece called "The Gibson theory of the Great Depression."  Confused by Gibson's "theory" Mr. Vielkind wrote:

I won't pretend to be an economics authority of any sort (I've got a college transcript to prove why not) but my recollection is that most economists focus more on monetary policy, an inflated stock market and other factors as causes for the Great Depression. There's a good Wikipedia article (comprehensive, well-cited) about this here. It doesn't include the tax increases as a major contributing factor.

I asked Gibson about this after the debate. Here's what he said:

"I think that government intervention had a lot to do with exacerbating the situation. You know, there's some great books if you want to take a look at. "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes [who also blogs] and actually, Thomas Sowell has got a book on intellectuals in society. These are two wonderful books but take a look at what actually happened, because there needs to be some clarity as far as the history as to what occurred. So I point you to those. I think that exacerbated the situation in that government intervention actually created the situation. You know, it's not well known."

A distinction must be made.  Chris Gibson clearly does not make the case that raising taxes caused the Great Depression, but that it "exacerbated" the economic conditions.  Apparently, Chris Gibson is a scholar of economics; instead of relying on the wisdom of Wikipedia, I went to the FED publications and searched through their professional research.  Low and behold, the Richmond FED had a publication called "What Prolonged the Great Depression?" by Matthew Conner, wherein he highlights work by a Minneapolis economist who found that increasing taxes played a significant role in extending the Great Depression.

From his article:

McGrattan discovers that a large fraction of the observed declines in real GDP between 1929 and 1933 is explained by her tax-inclusive model. Additionally, the decline in production hours per capita during this period also can be explained by her model.

In other words, increasing taxes has a negative effect on GDP growth or in a summary of Keynes, contractionary fiscal policy, yes increasing taxes is included, decreases GDP.

Any other economics questions Mr. Vielkind?

Discussion at Memeorandum


Future of Capitalism has perhaps the most important observation of Chris Gibson's statement.

I don't know much about Mr. Gibson (his campaign Web site is here), but it's a good sign for the Republican Party when its candidates are going around quoting Miss Shlaes and Mr. Sowell.

Update x2:

Jimmy Vielkind of the Times Union responds below:

Thanks for reading my post about Mr. Gibson's views and providing further context.

While I was happy to point out that I am no economics expert, I did study a fair amount of the stuff in college. (And yes, in Albany, where I learned from a wonderful man at Shenendehowa named Mr. Beson.) My knowledge of the field and other reporting indicate one central point that I felt our post captured but yours, in describing me as "flummoxed," "not very familiar with economics" and "confused" was this: there remains debate among economists about the causes of the Great Depression as well as the effect of government intervention.

Let me test this by going to the same Web site you used and searching "Great Depression" as a key word. The first article that comes up is titled "Comparing the Federal Reserve’s Responses to the Crises of 1929-1933 and 2007-2009," by David Wheelock, and states in the abstract (before going into much further detail) that "The Great Depression experience showed that central banks should respond aggressively to financial crises to prevent a collapse of the money stock and price level."

I read the article you cited, which is actually a synopsis of articles. The synopsis the article you cited acknowledges that there is disagreement among economists, and that many believe that monetary inaction was a major factor in the Depression.

I suspect we could go back and forth like this for some time. Yes, I cited a Wikipedia post. I cited it to show what lots of people with lots of different views on this subject have said about the Depression. I believe that was clear from the context. You are, of course, entitled to interpret my words as you see fit.

So no, Mr. Foster. I have no economics questions for you. I don't know what your bona fides are or what kind of credential your "economics hat" is. But I do have two requests: first, please feel free to call me Jimmy. Second, please be courteous enough to reach out if you choose to write about me in such a personal way again.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Arcuri and Logan Bell may loose third party ballot lines

By Sam Foster
Via Utica Observer-Dispatch

Many have tried, many have failed. This election season has not been kind to those looking to add third party ballot lines for November. Janice Volk tried, but could not secure a Tea Party line earlier this month for NY's 29th congressional district. Now it seems that libertarian Logan Bell and Democrat incumbent Mike Arcuri may not secure ballot lines in NY's 24th congressional district.

The Observer-Dispact reports:

Following an objection to Tompkins County resident Ernest Logan Bell’s petition to gain an independent ballot line, state Board of Elections staff are recommending the board’s commissioners remove Bell from the ballot, spokesman John Conklin said Monday.

Conklin also said U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri’s independent petition is at risk, but an attorney for Arcuri’s campaign disagreed.

Among the objections to Bell’s petition was a challenge that he didn’t submit the required 3,500 signatures to gain the Libertarian Party line, Conklin said. In response, officials counted the signatures and found that Bell had only submitted 3,319 signatures, Conklin said.

Conklin said Arcuri’s independent NY Moderates line is at risk because of a state law that says a ballot line can’t include the words “New York,” and the board assumes NY stands for New York, Conklin said.

“It’s possible it will be invalidated,” Conklin said.

It’s unclear whether Arcuri would have the option of changing the name of his ballot line to remove the “NY,” Conklin said.

But James Long, an Albany attorney who represents Arcuri’s campaign, said that’s exactly what will happen.

“It’s not at risk,” Long said of Arcuri’s petition. “It’s going to be just Moderates.”

There could be an issue if there were multiple candidates all attempting to run on the NY Moderates line, but because it’s just Arcuri, the Board of Elections is likely to allow the congressman to just change the name, Long said.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Real Clear Politics: Money not likely to save Dems Murphy, Maffei, and Owens

By Sam Foster
Via Real Clear Politics

NY is a mixed bag when it comes to congressional campaign money. There are a number of Republican candidates vying for blue seats that are out-raising incumbent Democrats. Tom Reed, Richard Hanna, and Nan Hayworth have all been able to sustain a cash advantage. What about Republican candidates who are well behind in fundraising?

There are skeptics out there and I've been one of them. However, there is a growing national consensus from political analysts that Democrat money advantage will not be a deciding factor in this year's election.

Jay Cost from Real Clear Politics writes:

Would these factors be sufficient to stop the Republicans from taking the House in a more evenly divided year? I'd say yes. I think the Democratic incumbency advantage is sufficient to absorb a modest Republican popular vote victory. I'd add that Republicans who do not raise enough money will not win elections, even in a cycle such as this.

But so far this year the Republicans have enjoyed a sizable and sustained lead in the generic ballot, something that has never happened in the history of the poll. Currently, the GOP lead is at 4.5%. If that holds through November, the Democratic money advantage will not be enough to alter the orientation of the electorate sufficiently: if the RCP average has the GOP up 5 points in the generic ballot the day before, the GOP should have around a 5 point advantage on Election Day.

Nor will Democratic money be sufficient to reorganize such a pro-Republican electorate in a way that enough Democrats survive. No party has held a House majority while losing the popular vote by 5 points since before the Civil War. With the "Solid South" - voting overwhelmingly Democratic with exceedingly low turnout - a thing of the past, such a feat is all but impossible. A $20 million cash advantage for the DCCC is not going to change that.

Just a little reminder to Democrat candidates like Dan Maffei, Bill Owens and Scott Murphy, who believe they are sitting safely behind what they think is an impenetrable fortress of cash; This year it is little more than paper.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Write it down: Scott Murphy promises more debates

By Sam Foster
Via CBS News 6

Coverage of the Chris Gibson/Scott Murphy debate is making its way to the web and I will continue to update the site as more information for last night’s forum becomes available.

So far, the biggest shocker in coverage is in Scott Murphy’s promise for more debates. The Murphy campaign did a lot of ducking before last night’s forum. Murphy would only agree to a closed round-table discussion as opposed to an open, formal debate.

But here he is, promising CBS 6 to have multiple, public debates.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Initial reactions to Gibson/Murphy Debate: In Which Murphy runs on someone else's voting record

By Sam Foster

Well the cat's out of the bag now.

Earlier this evening, Scott Murphy and Chris Gibson squared off in what might be the only debate for NY's 20th congressional district. With the Democratic leadership in Washington warning incumbent Democrats to stay away from talking up the cost aspect of health care legislation, I was wondering what pitch Scott Murphy would make in his run for reelection.

It wasn't long into the debate before it became apparent that Scott Murphy's secret campaign strategy was to tout someone else's voting record. One of my sources attending the debate noted that at one point Scott Murphy claimed, "People in Washington come to me because I'm known as a deficit hawk." If that's what they say when they come, one must wonder what they think of congressman Murphy after they've left. During last March's health care vote, Scott Murphy switched from a "no" to "yes" vote after having been pressured by the Washington Democrat leadership.

With Murphy's support, the nearly trillion dollar health care plan was voted into law. Less than two weeks ago, Scott Murphy voted for an education jobs bill that added more than twelve billion to the national deficit according to the nonpartisan CBO.

The debate is the first time Scott Murphy has had to defend his record from a congressional challenger and in future debates he may want find a voting record at least somewhat resembling his own. Tweets from a Capital Confidential reporter shows Chris Gibson may have been effective in pointing this out to the attendees.

In one exchange, Chris Gibson said of Murphy's health care vote, "you got it right the first time." I'd be willing to bet the candidate who's voting record Scott Murphy copied this evening would have agreed.

I'll be adding updates from media coverage as they become available. Tomorrow, footage of the debate should be made available.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NY-21 Candidate to Speak in Schoharie

NY-21 Congressional candidate Ted Danz will be speaking in Schoharie to that County's Young Republican Club next month. He will be at the Schoharie County Courthouse (the third floor Board of Supervisors Room) on September 20th at 6:00 pm. The public is invited.

NY-22 Hinchey/Phillips Poll: Maurice Hinchey may be headed for an upset?

By Sam Foster
Via Hot Air
H/T UPR readers

With a tsunami referendum for the Obama agenda headed to your district this fall, there will be a number of unforeseen Republican upsets.  The esteemed Ed Morrissey at Hot Air hinted at a possible upset in NY's 22nd congressional district where Republican George Phillips is trying to oust long time Democrat shill, Maurice Hinchey.  

As proof, Ed provided the results of a recent poll.  The poll showed Hinchey well below 50% at 44% and George Phillips behind by only 7%.  In this year's political climate, experts are saying any Democrat under 50% is a potential upset and this early in the election 7% is awfully close.

Here is an excerpt from Ed Morrissey's article:

It's been a while since we last checked on Maurice Hinchey, the Congressman from New York who thinks George Bush let Osama bin Laden get away on purpose to justify the invasion of Iraq and that Karl Rove planted the Rathergate memos. In fact, the last time we heard from Hinchey, it was because no one was hearing from Hinchey, as his campaign refused to discuss the incumbent's votes in the House or his positions on the issues.  How has that strategy worked out?  Not terribly well, according to a new internal poll shared with Republican donors in NY-22, which shows Hinchey at 44% — with a 96% name recognition.

George Phillips, the Republican challenger for the seat, comes close to the margin of error at 37%.  The district is listed by Cook as a D+6, not nearly Democratic enough for Hinchey's lunacy.  The survey sample has a D+3 split, which makes it a fairly good approximation of the district in normal cycles but may underestimate Republican enthusiasm in these midterms.  Other notable results:

Generic ballot – GOP wins by 2, but with 32% undecided.

Phillips' name recognition is at 53%, much higher than an internal poll in March (26%)

Only 25% declared themselves likely to support someone already involved in Washington politics, while 46% said "less likely"

Please read the rest at Hot Air.

Monday, August 23, 2010

NRCC schedules air time for Chris Gibson/Scott Murphy race

By Sam Foster
Via Washington Post

The Washington Post blog, The Fix, has been watching where the NRCC and DCCC have scheduled airtime for political ads this fall.  These organizations often lay their chips down early in order to move their campaign money into place for the election season.  

It appears the NRCC is planning on backing Chris Gibson's run for NY's 20th congressional district with ad airtime.  The DCCC, on the other hand, has made no plans to aid the Murphy Campaign.

Aaron Blake writes:

Oftentimes, the districts that are left off of national media buys by the campaign committees are more instructive than the ones that are included.

The NRCC is reserving ad time in five districts the DCCC hasn't touched -- going after Adler and Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.).

Out of the other three, the most surprising is Marshall, who wasn't targeted until recently. A poll out today shows state Rep. Austin Scott (R) within five points and President Obama lost the Macon-area seat by 13 points in 2008.

The Washington Post also notes that the NRCC has yet to schedule airtime for any of the top "Young Gun" candidates like Nan Hayworth.  However, they would be likely choices for a second round of funding.  Major changes are frequently made, so this is purely an early prediction of where the organizations plan on spending.

One could speculate all day on the funding decisions.  For example, DCCC's decision to forbear funding for Scott Murphy probably has to do with the sizeable war chest that he has already accumulated.  However, one thing is certain: with a much smaller purse than the DCCC, the NRCC can only afford to spend on the races they feel will have the greatest effect.  Clearly, the NRCC has confidence in Chris Gibson's ability to unseat incumbent Scott Murphy.

Additional writer's note:  In NY, most of the Republican "Young Guns" such as Tom Reed, Richard Hanna, and Nan Hayworth have been able to raise more cash on hand than their opponents, which may explain the NRCC's funding decision.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Democrat and Chronicle: NY-25th will be close race for Dan Maffei and Ann Marie Buerkle

By Sam Foster
Via The Democrat and Chronicle

Jill Terreri, political writer at the Democrat and Chronicle, believes the race between Dan Maffei and Ann Marie Buerkle will be a "spirited race." In her article, she lays out why she sees the race will be a close one.

Voters in the northeast suburbs might experience a real race for Congress.

Republican Ann Marie Buerkle has had some unexpected boosts in her race to replace Rep. Dan Maffei, a freshman Democrat.

An endorsement from Sarah Palin could draw new contributions — she desperately needs some if she's going to get her message out — and an extra place on the ballot, courtesy of an endorsement from the Independence Party, could help attract votes.

Competitive races in New York can be hard to come by as the state Legislature has drawn congressional districts for the maximum political benefit of one party.

Read the rest here...

Also in the news for Ann Marie Buerkle; she is juggling quite a schedule today. She is going to a fundraiser with John Boehner and her daughter's wedding.

Friday, August 20, 2010

David Malpass Second NY Senate Ad of the Season: Obama/Gillibrand versus Reagan/Malpass

By Sam Foster

David Malpass just released his second campaign ad of the season. His campaign released the following statement and transcript along with the video.

“Reckless” Says Obama and Gillibrand Are Destroying Our Way of Life

New York- August 19, 2010… U.S. Senate Candidate David Malpass (R), a nationally-recognized fiscal conservative and a former Reagan-Bush 41 Treasury and State Department official today released the second television spot of the 2010 U.S. Senate race for the seat now held by the unelected senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The 30-second spot, titled “Reckless” will be aired statewide.

The ad, which was produced by Jamestown Associates, focuses on how the reckless spending and harmful policies being proposed by President Obama and Kirsten Gillibrand are eroding American’s freedoms. Mr. Malpass is the first candidate in the race to run television ads.

The text of the script is as follows:

David Malpass:

“I’m David Malpass and I approve this message because we’re losing our

Voice Over:

“With reckless, out-of-control spending, Barack Obama and Kirsten

Gillibrand are destroying our way of life.

They are literally taking away our freedom.

They’re draining your retirement funds.

They want to choose your doctor.

And they’re not being truthful.

You have a right to be angry.

There is a better alternative. A Reagan alternative.

Stand proud and tall.

Republican David Malpass.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Most NY Democrats continue to hide from the Ground Zero Mosque: Where Maffei, Murphy, Owens, Arcuri, Hall, Hinchey and Tonko stand

By Sam Foster
Via AP  

Their first response was run and still many NY Democrats are mum over the Ground Zero Mosque.  Over the last few days, my site has been inundated with google searches looking for what the NY Democrat Congressional delegation has to say regarding the Ground Zero Mosque.  

So far, only John Hall and Mike Arcuri have come out against the mosque building.  Dan Maffei, Scott Murphy, and Bill Owens remain silent.  I've seen no official report, but I believe Maurice Hinchey and Paul Tonko are keeping silent on this one.  They have issued no press release on the issue and as far as I can find, no reporter is owning up to a statement.

Here is the best coverage I could find on NY's political circus that is the Ground Zero Mosque and how it is affecting congressional races.

Via AP:

The latest Democrat to break with Obama is Rep. John Hall, a two-term incumbent expected to face a strong challenge from Republican Nan Hayworth in the 19th district north of New York City.

In a statement released Wednesday, Hall said freedom of religion was essential to democracy but that he hoped the project would be constructed elsewhere.

"I think honoring those killed on Sept. 11 and showing sensitivity to their families, it would be best if the center were built at a different location," Hall said.

Hall joins three other House Democrats believed to be vulnerable in November who have announced their opposition to the project.

In eastern Long Island, four-term Rep. Tim Bishop said ground zero should be a symbol of interfaith understanding. If developers of the Islamic center are seeking such unity, they should move the project, he said.

In Staten Island, the most conservative of New York City's five boroughs, Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon said the project was a local matter and shouldn't come under federal jurisdiction. Nonetheless, he said he hoped it would be moved.

"I believe a new location is the right compromise so that Muslim Americans can worship without eliciting feelings that push us away from our country's basic tenet of religious acceptance while the families of 9/11 victims obtain the peace of mind they deserve," McMahon said.

A few vulnerable Democrats have chosen to stay silent on the matter, including Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei, Rep. Bill Owens in northern New York and Albany-area Rep. Scott Murphy.

Murphy's Republican opponent, Chris Gibson, posted a statement on Facebook appearing to support the Islamic center project, saying, "It's either all or nothing — churches, mosques and synagogues should be treated the same." He later issued a clarification, saying he didn't think building a mosque near ground zero was a good idea.

There was a bit of a role-reversal in the Utica-area district where two-term Rep. Mike Arcuri is facing a strong challenge from Republican Richard Hanna. Arcuri was the first New York Democrat to break with Obama on the project, while Hanna initially said he didn't have a problem with it.

"This country was founded by people who were running away from religious persecution. So how can we become what we have beheld and found contemptible in other places?" Hanna said in a statement. He later switched course, saying it was insensitive to locate the project at ground zero.

Justin Phillips, an assistant professor at Columbia University who studies state elections, said the rejection of the mosque by vulnerable Democrats wasn't surprising.

"The Democrats who are going to lose in 2010 are from moderate to conservative districts, so these are the Democrats who are trying to be very careful in their handling of this issue," Phillips said. "They don't want to take an unpopular position on anything right now."

Indeed, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who faces only token opposition as he seeks his 10th term, has been one of the most outspoken advocates of the project. Nadler's district includes the World Trade Center site.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who faces a feisty primary challenge from attorney Reshma Saujani, announced her support for the Islamic Center two weeks ago but is being pushed by Saujani to speak out more forcefully. The primary is Sept. 14.

"This is a major debate unfolding in our city and country, and our leaders ... are weighing in with lukewarm statements," said Saujani, who strongly supports the project.

The matter has even quieted the state's normally garrulous senior senator, Chuck Schumer, who is seeking re-election this year and has yet to weigh in on the controversy that is roiling the state. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is also facing voters this fall, has issued terse statements of support for the center but said she would also back efforts to move it if community members decided to do so.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Murphy endorses Chris Gibson position in latest campaign video

By Sam Foster

It's been a good week for Gibson's campaign and it seems as though everyone is coming out to agree with his position on fiscal responsibility. First it was NY schools, then it was the local press, and now Scott Murphy gives Chris Gibson a big shout out in his latest ad.

The ad featured below, will begin airing today.

"Sometimes they eat too much, just like congress spending money"

That's an excellent revelation and one that Chris Gibson has been talking about since he began campaigning at the end of last March. What is surprising is to see Scott Murphy finally on board with the idea of fiscal restraint. Especially, after his recent vote on the Education Jobs Bill which added another $12.5 billion to the deficit according to the nonpartisan CBO.

Over his tenure, Scott Murphy has been a rubber stamp vote for the Democratic agenda having voted for the Democrat's trillion dollar health care plan. If the purpose of this add was to say that Scott Murphy and his family believes that unfettered spending in Washington is appalling, then Murphy has been quite the prodigal son. He and congress have all but redefined the term Pay-as-you-Go to Spend-as-you-Please.

Even more surprising is that Scott Murphy decided to give Chris Gibson's stance on government spending a test-drive in his first campaign ad. After all, most candidates laud their own positions. I knew that come November a majority of voters in NY-20 would agree with Chris Gibson, I just didn't realize that Scott Murphy would be one of them.


Embarassing spelling errors removed thanks to NY-20 voter.

UPR Interview: 2006 Republican candidate for NYS Governor John Faso on Ann Marie Buerkle's campaign for NY's 25th Congressional District

By Sam Foster

Riding on Obama's coattails, Democrat Dan Maffei took 55% of the vote in NY's 25th congressional district. Cook's Political report show's NY-25 has a PVI of D+3. However, wagging his finger at voters seems to have take it's toll as a new NRO poll show's Buerkle nipping at Maffei's heals.

I had the opportunity to ask 2006 Republican Gubernatorial candidate John Faso his thoughts on Ann Marie Buerkle's run for NY's 25th congressional district in the interview below.

Sam Foster: What’s Dan Maffei’s biggest weakness going into November?

John Faso: Voters have turned strongly against the spending agenda of Obama and the Democrats; they are very worried as to the future direction of the nation and wonder whether their children will ever be able to climb out from under the mountain of debt the Democrats have enacted. Rep. Maffei, as a 100% supporter of this agenda is in trouble because of this.

Sam Foster: Ann Marie Buerkle has struggled in fund raising so far, is the trend likely to continue? Is money the largest factor in the race?

John Faso: Money is a big factor; but Buerkle won't need to match Maffei dollar for dollar; he will surely outspend her by a substantial margin; the question is whether she can raise enough to elevate her profile in the Fall.

Sam Foster: Ann Marie Buerkle released a poll showing incumbent Dan Maffei under 50% approval (at 49%); Is Dan Maffei in trouble? Why or why not?

John Faso: Maffei is definitely in trouble. His "hard re-elect" number was only in the mid-20's. Despite having much higher name ID, Maffei was only ahead by 9 points. Just today (Aug 16) National Review on-line released polls in a number of districts across the nation and they have Maffei up by only 4 points. This race is going to get closer and will be very competitive come October.

Sam Foster: Sarah Palin has issued an endorsement for Ann Marie Buerkle; in what ways will/could this help Ann Marie? What are the potential disadvantages?

John Faso: Palin is a polarizing figure; she will help with some folks; hurt with others. Key for Ann Marie is to get her agenda for the district out; the upstate economy is in real trouble and has been for years; we need major changes in tax code to spur investment by business which will create jobs. The notion that the Congress can print more "stimulus" money and have that successfully reinvigorate the economy is fatuous. The Congress is happy to create more public sector jobs for their union allies; trouble is, public sector jobs - valuable they may be within reason - don't create economic wealth. Private capital is sitting on the sidelines because business and investors are petrified as to tax and budget policies from Washington.

Sam Foster: What’s one thing that the voters in NY-25 should know about Ann Marie Buerkle?

John Faso: She shares their values: as a mother, nurse and attorney - working in the state AG's office - she understands the real world and will bring common-sense, conservative values from CNY to Washington, DC.

Sam Foster: Earlier this summer, you held a fundraiser for Ann Marie and others. Did you get a sense of what impression Ann Marie had on prospective donor's?

John Faso: Great question: I can tell you that we had 6 candidates from NYS. All spoke well but Ann Marie was the person who impressed the most people with her message. If the people of CNY get to hear her, they will vote for her.

Sam Foster: What’s your advice for the Buerkle campaign?

John Faso: Raise money to get your message out and keep smiling!

Please see check out Ann Marie Buerkle's thoughts on local issues, her pledge site Compact 25, and if possible, make a donation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

NRO Poll: Gibson, Buerkle and Doheny in striking distance for an incumbent upset

By Sam Foster

It's about time for the Political Reports to start flipping some of the Upstate NY races to "Toss Up" status. A recent NRO poll shows three Republican challengers gaining ground in blue NY congressional districts.

Jim Geraghty reports:

New York 20: Despite challenger Chris Gibson having just 37 percent name recognition compared to Rep. Scott Murphy’s 91 percent name recognition, Murphy leads by a slim 45 to 40 percent margin.

New York 23: While challenger Matt Doheny has just 48 percent name recognition compared to Rep. Bill Owens’s 87 percent name recognition, Owens manages just a split of the vote with 41 percent to 39 percent for Doheny.

New York 25:
Despite challenger Ann Marie Buerkle having just 50 percent name recognition compared to Rep. Dan Maffei’s 90 percent name recognition, Maffei leads by a slim 44 to 41 percent margin.

All three Democrat incumbents are under 50%, which is a very dangerous place for Democrats in this election cycle. Also note the Democrat name recognition percentages. This means that the three incumbent Democrats will have little room to improve their favorability.

The press agrees with Chris Gibson: Murphy’s Vote on Education Jobs Bill will prolong the problem

By Sam Foster

The local media does not appear to be impressed with Congressman Scott Murphy of NY's 20th congressional district.  First they grilled him over his use of taxpayer funds for campaign purposes, now the Post Star has written a scathing article about his vote for the Education Jobs Bill.

The Post Star editorial staff writes:

On Wednesday, President Obama signed the Murray-Harkin amendment, which will provide an additional $10 billion in aid to schools around the country to prevent teacher layoffs. The bill also includes $16 billion to extend increases in Medicaid matching funds originally contained in the federal stimulus package.

U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, who is facing a tough re-election battle, said he voted for the extra money to help offset the state's high property taxes. But this measure will do nothing of the sort. In fact, it's likely that property taxes will go up in the long-term because of it, not down…

…Despite their good intentions, Congress and the president actually made our property tax problem worse by giving school districts and the state government the opportunity to postpone tough spending decisions.

If our elected representatives understood human nature as much as they understand election-year politics, we taxpayers would be a whole lot better off.

Chris Gibson made a similar statement in denouncing Scott Murphy's vote:

 "Rule number one when you're in a hole is to stop digging," said Gibson (R/C – Kinderhook). "I know people are struggling and I know what tough times are like for families. My father was laid off his union job during the recession in the late 70's and our family had to make some tough decisions. I'm a product of public high schools and I chose to serve our country in the Army, which helped pay for my college education. To this day, my wife and I sit around the kitchen table to decide how to balance our family's budget. Households like ours know you cannot add debt upon debt. By choosing to raise taxes instead of cutting federal spending, Congress threatens to make our troubling economic situation worse. It is never a good idea to raise taxes during a recession - this is sure to stifle job growth and hurt American families."
Last week the schools agreed with Chris Gibson, this week the press, and this coming November the voters.

NRA calls Gillibrand a liar: Kirsten Gillibrand receives Brady endorsement

The times certainly have changed for appointed senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  With a broader, more liberal voter base thanks to NYC, Gillibrand has decided to flip-flop her traditional stand on gun control.  After having sat atop of the NRA's rating through her entire tenure with the US congress, Gillibrand has accepted an endorsement from the Brady gun control group.  

The switch prompted a fiery response from the NRA.  WSJ reports:

"She was either being dishonest with her voters in the congressional district or she's being dishonest to the voters in New York state," said the NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox. "Either way, the key word is dishonest."

While the switch is likely to have little effect on who votes for/against Gillibrand, it could mean serious NRA donations for a Republican Gillibrand challenger.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

UPR Interview: Who are the Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour?

By Sam Foster

Smart and catchy messaging can have a huge impact on the campaign in the politics of today. For example, California unions are paying to have two actors follow around Republican candidates Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina dressed as alter egos Queen Meg and Princess Carly. Google Queen Meg, you'll find thousands of hits. The crass, but catchy titles have leaked their way into every major California publication.

So it's a real pleasure when a local conservative campaign synthesizes a uniquely impressive, satirical messaging campaign. I stumbled upon the Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour late last week and was quickly impressed with their content and slick political marketing.

The group's shtick is that Republican challenger, Nan Hayworth, needs your help to defeat incumbent Democrat John Hall in November's election so that in losing his congressional job, John Hall will be compelled to rejoin his band Orleans. For those of you not hip to 70's pop rock, congressman John Hall was the lead singer and writer for the song "Still the One."

Michael Knowles, a local Yale student, is the leader and founding member of the Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour campaign. I caught up with him for the following interview:

How did you get involved with politics and what do you hope to be doing after you graduate from college?

I've been interested in politics for as long as I can remember. The earliest memory I have concerning politics is sitting at my grandparents' dinner table, repeating the new phrase they had taught me: "Read my lips, no new taxes." That was in 1992, and I don't think my views have changed too much since. After college, I actually plan on becoming an actor. But then, I guess politics and acting aren't all that different.

How did you get involved with the Hayworth campaign?

I became involved with the Hayworth campaign in early April. I've known Nan Hayworth since I was about nine years old. I can honestly say that she is one of the most intelligent, talented, and energetic people I've met in my life--truly the perfect candidate. This election is certainly the most important of my lifetime. Many people my age see the United States heading down a dangerous path and believe that we need to change direction before it is too late. When I heard that Nan was running for Congress, I knew I had to put any other summer plans on hold and help out in any way that I could.

What’s your specific goal with the site?

As we say in our mission statement, the Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour seek to reunite the '70s rock band Orleans in order to get John Hall on the road and out of Congress. When John Hall was the lead singer of Orleans, unemployment, the national debt, and the national debt as a percentage of GDP were all at reasonable levels. After his four disastrous years in Congress, unemployment has hit 9.5%, the national debt is over $13 trillion, and the national debt is almost equal to GDP. John Hall's misguided votes have directly contributed to all of these increases. Great musician, terrible legislator.

How do you plan on getting voters to notice your site and remember your message?

Our first week online has been very encouraging in terms of visitors and subscribers to the website. I think the message and the messaging resonate well with people. As early as June, the John Hall campaign was hawking negative YouTube ads, which distorted Nan's positions and sought to instill fear in the voters. I think this is really the wrong approach. That's why the Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour hope to win support for our cause with something that's become all too rare in politics: a little humor.

John Hall’s band is hypersensitive about your group, what are your thoughts? Is it a sign that you have a catchy message? That you are an insufferable annoyance to the Hall campaign? Both? Neither?

We received the first angry emails from Orleans the day after we took the site online. My first thoughts were, "Wow! The guys who sang 'Still The One' hate my website enough to email me!" I think they just don't know how to react to clever advertising. They really should be flattered--the entire message of our organization is that we love Orleans' music and hope they reunite as soon as possible!

Any new projects in the works and how do you see your site evolving in the next few months?

We're always working out new project ideas. We have a great group of young voters working to get Nan elected, so we're fortunately never without new ideas. Over the next few months, the Young Voters plan on bringing you more videos and commentary on the election, Nan's campaign, and how we plan to win in November.

How can other young voters show their support for Nan?

I'm glad you asked! There are a few ways other young voters can show their support for Nan. They can purchase Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour merchandise at our new online store, They can sign our petition to reunite Orleans at And, of course, if they would like to help out in a more hands-on way, they are encouraged to email me at

Are you a clandestine member of Yale’s secret society, Skull and Crossbones? If yes, were you inducted by George “the most unholy President of all time" W Bush? If not a member, would you tell me if you were?

As far as I understand, Skull and Bones comprises only seniors, and I am headed into my junior year. IvyGate Blog publishes a list of members every year, so I imagine it wouldn't be too big a deal if word got out. Of course, at a school like Yale, people are much more secretive about their affiliations with, say, the College Republicans than they are about any senior societies.

What is one thing that I didn’t ask you, but should have?

Q: Where did the idea for an Orleans Reunion Tour come from?
A: One of our Young Voters thought of it while we were sitting in a Dunkin' Donuts one morning. We had just finished greeting commuters at a train station and were talking about how we liked Hall's music, even though we thought his politics were driving our country off a cliff. The Young Voter responded, "Let's kill two birds with one stone and kick off the Orleans reunion tour." We'll let you know when it comes to pass.

Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour are off to a great start. Below is their first YouTube video, which was picked up by news site, NY Daily News:

The media may not be willing to corner John Hall and ask about his $1,000 donation to ethically deprived Charlie Rangel, but the Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour were.

I can't wait to see what Michael and the group come up with next!

NY Dems run from Obama's mosque speech

By Sam Foster
Via the Politico

First they ran from Charlie Rangel and not one week later Obama gives NY Dems another reason to run.

Maggie Haberman reports:

With the exception of Rep. Jerrold Nadler, I haven't gotten a single response from the N.Y. congressional delegation I reached out to about the president's speech, but but I have heard from multiple Democratic sources that some have privately expressed a sense of discomfort about the topic, and to some extent, the mosque project.

Chuck Schumer's office didn't respond to e-mails. Kirsten Gillibrand's aides didn't give a statement, although she did apparently tell a reporter at a public event that she found the speech "thoughtful."

ADDED: I emailed a spokesman for Andrew Cuomo, who has been unequivocal in supporting the mosque under religious freedom, about the president's remarks, but didn't get a response. I didn't get one from a NY Democratic Party spokesman either.

Rep. Joe Crowley, a Blue Dog Dem, was "out of pocket." Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who's facing a primary, didn't put out a statement about the president, although an aide referred to her past support for the project.

In three heavily Republican districts, the issue is being raised by rivals.

In the famed NY-23, where the phrased "Scozzafavaed" was born, I didn't get a response from a top aide to Rep. Bill Owens, the Democrat who won the seat, thanks to a massively split ticket between the Conservative Party and the Republicans.

In NY-13, where Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon won a seat in a district that voted for John McCain in 2008, three aides to the congressman didn't immediately respond to repeated requests for comment or didn't get back to me at all. One of his rivals, Michael Allegretti, slammed the president for the speech, although not McMahon specifically.

In NY-1, Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop has been hammered by his rivals over the issue, including today in the wake of Obama's speech, but he has been quiet. Aides to Rep. Steve Israel in NY-2 also didn't respond to a request for comment on the speech,

Same for an aide to Rep. John Hall (NY-19), who's facing Republican Nan Hayworth.

I wonder if it has anything to do with how voters feel about the Ground Zero Mosque?

Friday, August 13, 2010

What’s in it for John Hall: The political payoff for alleging fraud

By Sam Foster

The race for NY's 19th congressional district is sure to heat up now that Democrat incumbent John Hall has accused challenger Nan Hayworth's campaign with petition fraud in their bid for the Independence Party line.  The story makes for juicy headlines in the newspaper, but the real question is, is there any substance to the claims?  

To be honest, there are large potential benefits for John Hall in making such allegations, regardless of whether they are accurate or spurious.  There is the obvious damage caused in linking Nan Hayworth's campaign to fraud.  Still, there are two larger incentives for doing so:  

John Hall's campaign has been avid in their attempts to knock Nan Hayworth off of the Independence Party ballot line.  In NY, there are a large number of third parties, so there is often a large battle between candidates to claim as many ballot lines as is possible.  Simply holding a spot on a party ballot can carry large benefits.  Last November, Dede Scozzafava drew 5% of the NY-23 vote despite the fact that she'd dropped out of the race.  

Nan Hayworth has more cash on hand than John Hall.  Allegations of fraud could have a freezing effect on Hayworth's fund raising as potential donors wait for a legal outcome.  Meanwhile, John Hall will likely use the allegations to solicit money from Democrat donors.

Clearly, John Hall has much to gain from making allegations and it certainly explains why the Hall campaign "doth protest too much."  Just how solid are John Hall's allegations?  

John Hall Campaign Manager Patrick McGarrity called the allegations "A work in progress."   That's an interesting way for a campaign manager to describe John Hall's claims.

John Hall himself is no bastion of ethical purity hailing from the political pearly gates.  Despite the fact that Charlie Rangel has long been suspected for numerous ethics violations, John Hall held onto Rangel campaign contributions.  That is until public outcry threatened his campaign.

Writing in his diary at FireDogLake, nutroot John Hall supporter Cliff Weathers wrote:

Hicks, the manager of the GOP hopeful in New York's 19th Congressional District, is scheduled to appear in court on September 25. At question are petitions carried by Hayworth's notaries for the Independence Party, a minor New York party. Petitions must either be carried by members of the party or by notaries, public servants appointed by state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. Typically, notaries are used for signature gathering because of a scarcity of party members willing to carry petition sheets…

…According to New York State Law, a notary public who practices fraud by issuing a document knowing that it contains a false statement or false information is guilty of a Class E Felony and may be imprisoned up to 4 years.

The way Cliff is writing, you'd have thought that the FBI helicopters had just touched down, but someone ought to tell Cliff he can rest his shrill cries of wolf for the time being.  The case is being taken to a civil court.  Nan Hayworth's campaign explains:

…the Board of elections won't take up such matters, those issues must be decided by a court.

Meanwhile, Nan Hayworth's campaign has rallied behind campaign manager John Hicks to show their support:

"The allegation that John Hicks is somehow involved in and directed fraud is beyond the pale. Anyone who knows John Hicks, and I've known him for years, knows it's laughable. This is nothing but desperation politics on the part of the Hall campaign.  I hope they have miscalculated the mood of the district as badly as they've miscalculated John Hicks' character. His reputation is beyond reproach, and the district has had it with the results that John Hall and his Washington buddies are serving up. Come November, voters will choose his replacement."

A compelling allegation of fraud would have originated from Independence Party members whom the Hall campaign claims was defrauded.  Instead, all we have are the accusations of one campaign against another.  In other words, it's far too early to make a judgment.  The first real indication will be which campaign tries to stall the court, since the innocent party has a large incentive to conclude matters quickly, while the guilty will want to prolong.

Updateed: Schools agree with Chris Gibson, Murphy’s Education Jobs Bill won't help

By Sam Foster
Via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Congress made a special appearance in Washington earlier this week.  The emergency session was held so that congress could enact the FMAP bill or Federal Education Jobs Bill before the November elections.  The purpose?  To give Democrats what they hope will be some much needed pork spending to aide their national election difficulties this year.  

Scott Murphy followed the DNC talking points without faltering.  Capitol Confidential reported Murphy's statement:

The bill will help our local schools by staving off the choice between layoffs or local tax hikes.  This is about setting priorities.  I feel strongly that we should not be forcing our local governments to raise property taxes or choose mass layoffs of teachers.

Republican challenger Chris Gibson fired back:

This is about setting priorities, and priorities should be budgeted for. This is the first time since 1974 that Congress has not passed a budget. Without a budget you cannot set priorities, create jobs and rebuild our economy. Congress has merely increased our debt and deficit, and further hampered our economy's ability to recover.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that many NY schools are skeptical that congressional Democrats latest boondoggle will provide any help for them.

Saranac Lake Central School District Superintendent Gerald Goldman said he thinks it already might be too late to have much of an impact.

"We already passed a budget, we already have staffing plans, we already have schedules done," Goldman said.

He said it looks like the funding will be restricted to retaining jobs, rehiring fired teachers or hiring new employees rather than adding to a district's fund balance or reducing its tax levy. Adding teaching staff this late in the game, however, with less than a month before school starts, is difficult because it's next to impossible to change class schedules once they have been set.

Goldman said one possible use for the money would be hiring staff to help with students in need, since a recent change in grading of state evaluations means more Saranac Lake students are falling in the range of kids considered in need of academic intervention. But he said he doesn't want to commit to a way the district will use the money until he knows more about it.

"I think the jury is pretty much still out on how useful it's going to be, if it's ever going to arrive here, if it's going to arrive and something else is going to be taken away," Goldman said. "You just don't know."

Tupper Lake Central School District Superintendent Seth McGowan said he's also concerned about not having enough information yet.

"This is like playing tennis with invisible balls," McGowan said. "You just don't know what you're swinging at, and they're coming fast."

Tupper Lake had an especially rough budgeting year, faced with a $2.2 million deficit that was partially dealt with through the elimination of about a quarter of the district's instructional positions. One of the biggest reasons for the deficit was a significant reduction in expected state aid.

McGowan said he's not sure he can rehire teachers or hire new ones based on the funding, since it's likely to be a one-time boost.

"It's money, and we'll take it, but it doesn't do anything for the long-term solution," he said.

It would be a problem if the district gets caught on a funding cliff where the money drops away next year, McGowan said.

He also shares Goldman's concern that it's too late in the year to be hiring new teachers or dealing with budget issues.

"I wish this was happening in March or April," McGowan said.

He said he doesn't know yet which option for funding distribution would be best for Tupper Lake, since the current funding formula didn't help the district this year and the district probably doesn't fall within Title One limits.

"Those formulas for Tupper lake take a very odd twist, or at least did this year, so I'm cautious about any level of enthusiasm," he said.

McGowan is also nervous about potential mid-year cuts that have been threatened by the state, he said.

Scott Murphy also made claims that the bill was deficit neutral.  In fact, the nonpartisan CBO said the bill added $12.6 billion in deficits.


Today, via Memeorandum, NY Times has come out with a story about how schools across the nation agree with Chris Gibson's stance.

NY Times reports:

As schools handed out pink slips to teachers this spring, states made a beeline to Washington to plead for money for their ravaged education budgets. But now that the federal government has come through with $10 billion, some of the nation’s biggest school districts are balking at using their share of the money to hire teachers right away.

With the economic outlook weakening, they argue that big deficits are looming for the next academic year and that they need to preserve the funds to prevent future layoffs. Los Angeles, for example, is projecting a $280 million budget shortfall next year that could threaten more jobs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Challenger David Malpass Slams Gillibrand for attending Rangel's Birthday Party

By Sam Foster

NY Times writes

The timing of Mr. Rangel's party could not have been worse for many Democrats across the state: they face a brutal campaign climate. Many complained that the event, a few weeks before their party's primary, had forced them to choose between their allegiance to a venerable colleague and their own shot at re-election this fall.

Of course, many of NY's top Democrats paid their respects to congressman Rangel without regard to his numerous ethics violations.  Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was one of the many attendees.  Republican Challenger David Malpass released the following statement and video:

"Senator Gillibrand's priorities are seriously out of whack," said Mr. Malpass. "New Yorkers are suffering due to Washington's massive tax and spend policies that are killing jobs, yet our senator is more concerned with attending fundraisers at the Plaza with her big-government friends. She has refused to answer my call to donate the $29,000 she has received from Congressman Rangel, but she will have to answer to the voters in November. I don't know if she's done much talking with New Yorkers these days, but this is exactly the kind of behavior they are fed up with."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Details of Matt Doheny’s BUI emerge

By Sam Foster
Via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

The curious race for NY's 23rd congressional district has not been short on drama.  I reported last week that Republican candidate Matt Doheny had been detained for BWI in 2004.  The details turn out to be far more damaging.

First, Doheny's two incidents were within two weeks of each other.

Second, Mr. Doheny had become belligerent during his first incident and had to be handcuffed.  

Statements from the Coast Guard officers who boarded the vessel on July 10 say Doheny yelled at them and made threatening movements, questioned their authority to board the boat, refused to say whether he had been drinking but was stumbling and had slurred speech. He pulled away as they tried to handcuff him and was still combative when state police arrived on the scene. Doheny failed three of the seven field sobriety tests and then failed to take the breathalyzer correctly after several tries, not blowing enough air into it.

The second time, Doheny admitted to having drunk five beers and one vodka with Red Bull earlier, according to the officers' statements. Both boarding officers said he was cooperative. They brought Doheny onto the Coast Guard boat and docked Doheny's boat to allow his guests to disembark before conducting the field sobriety tests. Doheny also failed to blow into the breathalyzer hard enough after numerous tries, but ended up doing it and registering a blood alcohol content of .096.

Matt Doheny's past is going to be hard to swallow for voters sensitive about candidate misconduct as a result of ethics investigations of well-known NY congressman Charlie Rangel.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

UPR Interview: 2006 gubernatorial candidate John Faso on Chris Gibson’s run for NY-20

By Sam Foster

I recently had the pleasure of corresponding with the esteemed John Faso, 2006 Republican candidate for NY’s gubernatorial election and UPR reader. Since, John and Chris Gibson hail from Kinderhook, NY and know each other, I asked for John’s take on the upcoming election for NY's 20th congressional district. Please read my interview with him below!

1. Pundits have debated over how much trouble Scott Murphy is in, what’s your take and what are Chris Gibson’s odds at taking the election?

I think the odds are good, but this will be a hard-fought, competitive race. The incumbent has a large campaign warchest, primarily funded by DC PACS and unions. However, Gibson outraised Murphy in the second quarter and is really connecting with people in the district. Unlike Murphy, he has real roots here.

2. What are Chris Gibson’s biggest strength’s and weaknesses in his campaign for NY-20 and what does he need to do to win the seat?

His biggest strength is his background and accomplishments as a career military officer and as a scholar. Chris also relates very well to the average person and businessowner in the district; he grew up here and his views are very much in tune with where the district is right now. People are opposed to more power and decision-making authority going to Washington DC; they are petrified of the deficit and the debt. They see Murphy as strictly a "yes man" for the Obama and Pelosi agenda.

His main weakness, that he has never run for office, is also a strength in 2010.

3. Have you any sort of feeling about what issues Chris is most passionate about? If so, what are they?

He is most passionate about a federal government which has become too large; too powerful and too invasive in its role in the economy. He is also passionate about the need to better coordinate the national response to the terrorist threats.

4. What is one thing voters aren’t likely to know about Chris Gibson, but should?

Good question: I think the biggest challenge any non-incumbent has is just getting known. So the one thing voters need to know is that Chris Gibson is very talented, very smart and extremely dedicated to the Nation and the well-being of our citizens.

5. Chris Gibson has achieved several impressive accomplishments in his first 3 months of campaigning; he outraised Murphy by a large margin and out petitioned him 2 to 1. Are these achievements a telling indication of the mood of NY-20, a well run campaign, both, or neither?

Both: people in the 20th, like many other places around the country, disagree with the direction the federal government is taking. That is why he is going to win this November in the 20th.

6. What is the likelihood I’m going to have the pleasure of voting for you again on a state-wide ballot?

One can't predict the future so while it is probably not likely, you "never say never". We can at least say with certainty that our campaign was correct in everything we said in 2006 about the state and how to fix its economy! But, I've been honored to have the chance to run and have no regrets.

Please learn more about Chris Gibson or donate at his campaign site!