Monday, May 07, 2012

GOP can’t get out of own way in NY27

It seems the election for the 27th Congressional District is heating up. The newly created district will feature a Republican primary between former Erie County executive Chris Collins and war veteran David Bellavia with the winner going on to compete against “incumbent” Kathy Hochul.

I use the quotation marks because with redistricting, Hochul’s district is largely new to her and the power of her incumbency is somewhat diminished. In fact, many GOP think-tank types would have you believe that this race is theirs for the taking since the voter registration favors Republicans so greatly.

Of course, that’s what they thought before Hochul won the special election in the 26th Congressional District against Republican Jane Corwin, Independent Jack Davis and Green Ian Murphy. But never put it past politicians to screw up a sure thing.

Hochul’s victory in that special election was the first sign of life for the Democrats nationally. They had been adrift in “Obamacare” and economic woes. Say what you will, if Barack Obama wins re-election, the Hochul victory last May will have helped to spark it.

I’m just rehashing old news here, but it could be said that Hochul didn’t win so much as Corwin — and the GOP as a whole — lost, choosing insider bickering and party politics over process. Had Republicans gone through the normal process of picking a candidate, Davis (and Bellavia through endorsing Davis) would not have been the nuisance he was and Corwin wouldn’t have had to resort to stupid stunts. She should have won NY26 easily, but her “handlers” screwed it up bad for her.

I bring that up because it looks like the Republican wagons in Erie County are circling again, this time around Collins, who had been circling in his own right (the drain) following a whomping by Mark Poloncarz. But fresh off defeat, Collins decided he still had the political capital to run for Congress.

From my point of view, though, it looks like Collins is only running for Congress in Erie County, a strategy that makes little sense to me.

Of course, he did get the statewide Conservative Party endorsement, something I found out about through Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, who was apparently told directly by State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long. Why Nick Langworthy and Michael Long talk on the phone is anybody’s guess but it reinforces my personal belief that the Conservative Party is nothing but another line for GOP candidates to run on.

The majority of the party leaders in the 27th District, though, have backed Bellavia, including State Sen. George Maziarz. The weight of that endorsement has got to help in Niagara and Orleans counties where Maziarz could probably be emperor-for-life if only he asked nicely.

So what we really have here, it seems, is a battle over the GOP between Erie County and everyone else in Western New York. And while they’re bickering, look for Hochul to make solid gains in a district she should have no business winning.

It all sounds so familiar.

••••••••••••

Speaking of familiar, for the second year in a row, I’m stepping out of character and donning ladies wear for charity. Yep. If you missed it last year, on Saturday you get a second chance to see Scott Leffler in a womens’ clothes.

Tickets for the Second Annual Peaches-N-Crème Fashion Show are available at the Palace Theatre the night of the show, for $15 or for $10 from any of the Mangels (including me) or at the Lockport Maurices on Transit Road in the Home Depot plaza.

Doors open at 6 p.m. so attendees can get a look at the many baskets that will be auctioned off, with the show running from 7 to 10 p.m at the Palace.