Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chris Morris: Election 2010 Update

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and his RV tour zipped through upstate New York last week, and two prominent North Country Republicans announced their support for Watertown businessman Matt Doheny in the race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District seat.

Let’s start with the congressional race. Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun and Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Ellis were in Tupper Lake last Wednesday, where both men said they would be supporting Doheny – as opposed to Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman – in September.

Ellis told WNBZ’s Jon Alexander that Hoffman will need to come to terms with both his fundraising numbers and his support among Republicans. Ellis indicated that Hoffman – who narrowly lost to Democratic Congressman Bill Owens last fall – is lagging in both fields.

“If he fails to do either of those things he should pull out,” he said. “He’s failing according to any objective test.”

Maroun, a Republican himself who sought endorsements for the congressional seat earlier this year, was pretty straight forward in his endorsement of Doheny.

“I try real hard to not support a loser. I really go out of my way not to support losers,” Maroun said. “I’m pretty confident that although Mr. Hoffman is a nice man, I think Matt Doheny is going to win this race.”

Reacting to the endorsements, Hoffman’s campaign spokesman – Rob Ryan – told North Country Public Radio’s Brian Mann that Maroun and Ellis were scared.

“They know that Doug Hoffman is ahead by 32 points in a poll and they know that Matt Doheny is going to lose,” he said. “It’s going to be a repeat of last year when the party bosses backed Dede Scozzafava.”

The poll Ryan refers to is an in-house survey funded by Hoffman’s campaign that shows the Conservative and Tea Party backed candidate with a commanding lead ahead of the September GOP primary.

That’s the latest news in the 23rd race; let’s turn to the gubernatorial election.

I have now had the opportunity to personally interview both Democrat Andrew Cuomo (last Friday in Saranac Lake) and Republican Rick Lazio (earlier this spring). My conclusion: they seem an awful lot alike.

For starters, their respective views on the size of government, New York’s legislative houses, ethics reform and the state’s fiscal mess are very similar.

And here’s the kicker: they also sound a lot like what Governor David Paterson has been saying for the last several months.

So here’s my question: does it matter who is living in the Governor’s Mansion?

Without significant reform in the state Senate and Assembly, it seems like our current problems could continue right on into 2011, new governor and all.

I haven’t met Carl Paladino yet, although I hope to. The one thing the Buffalo businessman has brought to the table so far is a little sizzle and pop; without his flair for the dramatic, the race would be a total snooze fest.

Which reminds me: Paladino’s duck – Mario Junior – was standing outside the Saranac Lake Adult Center while Cuomo spoke inside. I wish the duck took questions, alas…

It’s worth noting that North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi was in attendance during Cuomo’s campaign stop. Politi endorsed Cuomo’s candidacy – and if you go by popular belief, that makes another North Country Republican endorsing a Democrat.

I say “popular belief” because no one is quite sure what political party Politi belongs to. As he put it to me, he “votes for the person who is best for the job, regardless of political affiliation.”

Cuomo did refer to Saranac Lake as “Saranac” – a critical mistake in the minds of many locals, as Saranac is a much smaller town about 40 miles downriver from Saranac Lake. My friend Nathan Brown at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise claims that it’s a minor hiccup; I beg to differ.

You could feel the collective groan in the room every time he misspoke.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Back next week with another update.

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Chris Morris lives in Saranac Lake and is communications manager at ACT, the community foundation of the Adirondacks. He has reported in the past for a variety of news outlets across the North Country, including the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, North Country Public Radio, and Denton Publications. His work has also appeared in the Adirondack Explorer and here at the Adirondack Almanack. He can be reached by email at chris@generousact.org.

ACT, the Adirondack region’s community foundation, works to invest in a brighter future for the Adirondacks by inspiring philanthropy and community investment. Home to more than 220 charitable funds, ACT has awarded some $20 million in grants and scholarships in several broad categories, including education, environment, human well being, community vitality and culture. ACT is also leading a number of initiatives aimed at bolstering Adirondack communities and supporting nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.generousact.org.




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