RSS Feed for this Blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

Horse Race of a Different Color

- Some new polling results released by Siena College yesterday indicate that it's far from a lock that the Democrats will finally be able to wrest control of the NY State Senate from the GOP on Tuesday. Two Republican incumbents that the Democrats had hopes of unseating - Senator Joseph Robach in the 56th SD in and around Rochester, and Senator Dale Volker in SD-59 in and around Erie County in central Western NY - appear to be safe.

Remember that the Democrats need a net gain of two seats in order to gain clear control; a gain of only one would result in a tie and a potential constitutional crisis without an acting lieutenant governor to break ties. The Dems' task became more formidable when a poll (pdf) earlier this month revealed that one of their own incumbents is, unexpectedly, in serious trouble of his own. Senator William Stachowski, a 26 year incumbent in an overwhelmingly Democratic district which includes part of Buffalo, was trailing challenger Dennis Delano by 49-36%. Delano is a popular "cold case" detective in the region. Little surprise that Stachowski appeared with Governor Paterson last week at the press conference to announce the Delaware North deal for Aqueduct. Hillary Clinton stumped for Stachowski earlier this week, and the governor, continuing to piss off Senate Majority Leader Skelos with his active role in the campaign, will be in Buffalo on his behalf tomorrow.

If Stachowski goes down, the Democrats would need to gain three seats. Here are the three races to keep a close eye on; these appear to be the Democrats most realistic shots:

SD-61, also in and around Buffalo: This race will determine a successor to retiring Republican Senator Mary Jo Rath, and was rated dead even by Siena in early October. Democrat "Baby Joe" Mesi, a popular former heavyweight boxer, is running against Republican Michael Ranzenhofer. Hillary also spoke on Mesi's behalf this week, and Senator Schumer endorsed him yesterday.

SD-15. This is the Ozone Park district which includes Aqueduct, and, as you may recall, it was the incumbent Republican Serph Maltese who announced the Delaware North deal during a debate with Democratic challenger Joseph Addabbo Jr. This race was also rated as a dead heat in the early October Siena poll.

SD-3 in Nassau County. GOP incumbent Caesar Trunzo had a 46-40 lead over Democratic challenger Brian Foley in the Siena poll, and this one has been heating up lately, with several TV ads of varying production quality. Paterson will travel to Long Island to campaign for Foley on Sunday.

Also perhaps in play is SD-6, also on Long Island, where a surge of new voter registration spurred by Senator Obama has Democrats hopeful that Kristin McElroy can unseat GOP Senator Kemp Hannon. (Paterson will also make a stop in Hempstead to stump for her on Sunday.) And in SD-48 in upstate Oswego and Jefferson counties, one with a Republican registration advantage, Democrats seem a bit nervous about Senator Darrel Aubertine despite a 20 point lead in the Siena poll.

Keep an eye out for a new Siena poll to be released on Sunday, which will have their latest ratings on six of the Senate races, including the two abovementioned races on Long Island.


Anonymous said...

If I thought I was a Victim I would vote Democrat.

Republicans are much more friendly to Horseracing than Democrats.

Keith oberwoman.

Anonymous said...

Ditto Keith Oberwoman: Mark my words, before the end of the next legislative session NY horsemen and horseplayers will be nostalgic for the days when Joe Bruno was in charge of the NY State Senate. Dean Skelos just doesn't have the political savvy and people sensibilities of Joe Bruno, a leader who could truly bring both sides together, a supremely skilled legislative leader, just ask David Paterson. I 've been pleased to see Joe still pitching hard in retirement for the AMD deal at Luther Forest Tech Park, just down the road a piece from the Spa. By the way, the keith oberwoman handle is quite intriguing- is it a typo? is it supposed to be Olberwoman? Tell us more.... I hear SNL is doing a scathing skit on Olberman tonight. SNL has tried to be an equal opportunity basher this time, about the only thing NBC can do "right" these days. /S/greenmtnpunter