- It's primary day in NY State; and as such, coming as it does on the second Tuesday after Labor Day, it's the day that feels to me more like the real anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (And nice job by the GOP exploiting its images for its convention.) There's a handful of contentious intra-party Congressional and state legislative races that will determine the matchups in November. Of most interest locally will be, of course, the races in the State Senate, the last vestige of GOP power of which it holds a two seat lead.
As is so often the case in politics, there's a little bit of everything for everyone. Five Democrats are vying for spots to replace retiring Rep. Paul McNulty in a race which will likely decide the election in the traditionally Democratic 21st Congressional District in and around Albany. Democrats are hoping to pick up Republican seats in the 13th district on Staten Island, where both parties have contests to replace disgraced Rep. Vito Fossella; and likewise in the 26th CD, where three Democrats are on the ballot.
A former professional boxer is among three Democrats seeking to pick up a State Senate seat for the party in a key race in Buffalo, where a Republican is retiring. A 30 year Senate veteran faces a stiff challenge in Brooklyn from a wealthy 28-year old backed by Senator Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg. A former hip-hop writer and Real World contestant takes on a veteran Democratic congressman in the 10th CD. Two Democrats and two Republicans seek to replace Joe Bruno.
And of course we have scandal. An extra-marital affair; stalkers and anal sex; and
flat-out liars (oops, wrong race for this post...)
Two of the races actually have some relevance for this blog....actually, one race and one race-that-wasn't. The latter is the potential State Senate primary between Councilman Hiram Monserrate and former Senator John Sabini that was averted when the latter, unceremoniously dumped by the Democratic party leadership, was instead appointed by Gov Paterson to head the State Racing and Wagering Board at $120,800 a year. As I mentioned on another blog, Sabini describes himself as a "very casual horseplayer," which probably means that he watches the Kentucky Derby on occasion; and he says that he's particularly interested in casino operations. [Saratogian]
Sabini said he believes the OTBs can be reshaped "without giving up their individuality."That's all really comforting.
The one race that could in theory impact not only racing, but everything else in the state, is the primary involving Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The Speaker is not generally challenged, but this year he's drawn two brave opponents. Of particular note is community activist Paul Newell, who has won the endorsement of the NY Times, NY Post, and NY Daily News. Not often you see those three papers agree on much of anything other than Let's Go
This isn't an endorsement of Mr. Silver; we're several kilo-parsecs to his right, and if we lived in the district, we'd vote Republican. But neither do we think it's in the interest of the voters of his district, or anybody else, to replace him with someone who is even further to the left. [NY Sun]Of course, Silver is not expected to lose. However, Newell has already made his point.
"I'm running to get the most votes in this election. That said, there's no question we've already brought change. We've already taken on Albany. There's no question about that. And people are scared."Silver has been forced to campaign, and even Hillary Clinton has felt compelled to chime in. Some observers feel that the election will be uncomfortably close for the Speaker.
Those scared people, Newell said, are thinking, "Wow, a 33-year-old community organizer can put together a campaign that is going to rock Sheldon Silver with his $3 million in his account, and $8 million in his Speaker's P.A.C. or whatever it is that he's got." [NY Observer]
One prominent Democrat even predicted Silver would win with an embarrassing plurality of the three-way vote, and not a clear majority.But whether he'd be politically dead enough to effect the issue of slots at Belmont, Silver's opposition to which being his main contribution to the racing industry debate these days, would certainly remain to be seen.
"If Shelly wins with under 50 percent, he's a political dead man," said the activist. [NY Post]