Meet the candidates

Congressional elections in my area this fall figure to be a snooze, but I decided to check in with people from NY-25, the district just to the east of me which stretches from Syracuse to the eastern suburbs of Rochester. It’s a classic Rockefeller Republican area, +3 Democratic Cook PVI but with a Republican representative (Jim Walsh) from 1988– 2008, now with a Democratic representative (Dan Maffei) — and a roughly equal number of Republicans and Democrats in terms of registration numbers. David Broder would like it if he visited — successful politicians in the area invariably portray themselves as centrist.

The Republican candidate for the district is a Sarah Palin-endorsed teatard who once carried a blackened fetus around in front of a local Planned Parenthood office; she’s never held office or done anything professionally. The race was probably a lost cause for Republicans because the Democratic incumbent raises a lot of money and generally strikes the right tone for the district. On the other hand, it’s the kind of “sleeper race” that the out-of-power party should try to make a contest out of in a “wave election” — freshman incumbent, Cook PVI under 5.

The obvious way to make a race like this competitive is to find a ostensibly non-ideological local businessman or office-holder and have him or her wank about creating jobs, the way Democrats did in the special elections in NY-20 and NY-23. Teahadism won’t cut it.

I don’t know how many possible outside chances Republicans like this are leaving on the table nationwide, but just about everywhere I look, I see one.

22 replies
  1. 1
    Mark S. says:

    If the GOP doesn’t meet expectations this fall, it will be really interesting how the party establishment responds. Get your popcorn ready.

  2. 2
    Cat Lady says:

    That Palin endorsement reads like it was churned out by the Wingnut Theme Generator (TM), female edition. Jeebus that Mama Grizzly bit is so fucking lame. Like 5th grade level lame. Also.

    What wine goes with “blackened fetus”? How does one blacken a fetus anyway?

  3. 3

    Attention! Attention! Unintentional Truth Telling by a Member of the GOP Detected in Sector NY25!

    UPDATE: Maffei Campaign Manager Dan McNally responds: “I think the fact that Ann Marie Buerkle is throwing in her lot with the Sarah Palin-Tea Party wing of the Republican Party will tell voters here all they need to know about her.”

    @Mark S.: Michael Steele’s Career Death Watch starts now!

    Erlich is running again in Maryland (gag). Maybe we’ll see a reunion tour.

  4. 4
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cat Lady:

    How does one blacken a fetus anyway?

    I think you coat it in finely ground black people pepper and fry it. Isn’t that how you make blackened anything?

  5. 5
    Mark S. says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I would go with a Pinot Grigio and serve it on a bed of jasmine rice. That’s how one of the contestants on Top Chef served it, and it seemed to go over well with the judges.

  6. 6
    danimal says:

    You’ve hit on the primary reason that the “wave” election will be more like the 2″ tidal wave that hit Hawaii after the recent Chilean earthquake: the GOP has had a terrible time with candidate selection and recruitment.

    The tea party has helped them in terms of enthusiasm, but it has killed them in terms of selecting good candidates who breeze through the primary unharmed. Third party candidates and wackos getting selected in primaries will turn off a lot of independents.

  7. 7
    Cat Lady says:

    @Mark S.:

    A nice alternative would be with fava beans and a fine chianti. Also.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @Cat Lady:

    What wine goes with “blackened fetus”? How does one blacken a fetus anyway?

    Adapt a recipe for blackened catfish? And I believe “a nice Chianti” is the traditional answer to your first question.


  9. 9
    danimal says:

    @Mark S.: You people are sick.

    Everyone knows that fetuses should never be blackened and are best served rare.

  10. 10
    Ronnie P says:

    I’m in Eric Massa’s old district, which is perhaps a bit more interesting. Republican Tom Reed is a bit of a Tea Party fan as well.

  11. 11
    Cacti says:

    Maybe I’m just in denial, but how is this wave election going to materialize?

    It’s true that there’s a lot of discontent in the country right now and that generally gets taken out on the party in power. The right wing is enthused to be sure, and the Dems have overperformed in the last two cycles.

    OTOH, the Republican brand is still extremely unpopular nationally. The Tea Party movement has fractured their party, and the Tea Party candidates are so far to the right, they only poll well in the reddest of districts.

    Far from being resurgent, I think the GOP is in the early stages of a fratricidal knife fight that’s going to play out fully in 2012.

  12. 12
    Roger Moore says:


    I’m inclined to agree. If anything, I’d be tempted to call the coming election a high tide election for the Republicans. The situation is generally in their favor right now, but it’s more because of the cyclical nature of partisan politics rather than because of anything the Republicans are doing right. Meanwhile, Republican leadership seems to be doing its best to ensure that it’s a neap tide rather than a spring tide by playing up the crazy. To twist things a little bit further, I’d be tempted to describe the election as a low tide for Democrats rather than a high tide for Republicans, because I think that the demographic sea level is rising, threatening to flood the low relief areas of the Republican South.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @Cacti: The Dems will lose seats if for no other reason than they have seats that were won only because of the Obama massive voter enthusiasm wave. Plus it’s still the economy stupid. And with the Congress that is sitting right now, Obama’s attempts to improve said economy are meeting stiff resistance. 2012 will be a much more telling year, because even if only one teabagger wins it will energize their supporters even more and they will go full on even more crazy, nominate a Teatard who couldn’t win dog catcher, and then things will fall apart. Then Snowe and Nelson form a center-right party from the ashes (or take the Republican mantle back) and life moves on.

  14. 14
    Bob Loblaw says:


    That’s because it won’t happen. The GOP in characteristic stupidity, have managed to blow 2010 so miserably that the caucus will be pushed to dissolution.

    They had the opportunity to go like +5 in the Senate, and now they’ll go +2 or 3 at best (losing 2012 hopeful Crist to the other side in the process, natch). They had a chance to rattle off a +40 in the House, and now they’ll be lucky to get half of that because the American public isn’t nearly insane to vote for the Doug Hoffman’s of the world anywhere but the deep south. They’ll probably still do fine with governorships, but who wants to be the governor of a state with no money?

    They managed to characterize their opposition as “hard left” and then swung further to the “hard right.” Now independents want nothing to do with either party.

    The message is simple, kids. Don’t be racist. Eventually it will catch up to you.

  15. 15
    Cacti says:


    The Dems will lose seats if for no other reason than they have seats that were won only because of the Obama massive voter enthusiasm wave.

    Hence my “overperformed” observation. The Republican brand was so toxic in 2008, they ended up losing seats to blue dogs that they would have won under normal circumstances. I see that evening out in this election.

    I’m inclined to agree with Roger Moore that this election will be a high water election for the GOP. If they don’t take back either house of Congress in 2010, it may be a long time before they have another chance, as the demographics of the country will continue to shift away from their current electoral model.

  16. 16
    Martin says:

    Fetus – best Iron Chef EVAH!

  17. 17
    d.s. says:

    DougJ, I think you’re vastly overestimating the amount of research voters are actually going to do.

    As long as this lady avoids using racist swear words in public, and refuses to answer media questions that might reveal some of her wackier views, the average local news viewer is just going to see her as boring Jane Republican. She’ll probably take a few moderate stands on some local issues to burnish her centrist credentials.

  18. 18
    joe from Lowell says:

    I don’t know how many possible outside chances Republicans like this are leaving on the table nationwide, but just about everywhere I look, I see one.

    True dat. Why on earth is the Kentucky senate race competitive in 2010? Why is Harry Reid winning?

    This country is so ready to fall in love with moderate Republicans. Lucky for us the tea baggers are driving them all out. They might even beat Mike Castle, the only Republican who can possibly win, in the Delaware primary.

  19. 19
    joe from Lowell says:

    All they Republicans need to do is look like a plausible alternative – like people you can imagine being responsible and running the government in a reasonable manner, even if you have to squint a little to see it.

    But they can’t even manage that.

  20. 20
    DougJ says:


    She’s facing a guy with 1.4 million cash on hand. If this gets close at all, you can bet he’ll start hitting her over the head with the Sarah Palin stuff.

  21. 21
    DougJ says:

    @Ronnie P:

    Where in NY-29?

    I think Reed is at heart, an old graft-loving New York State politician and not a teatard. He may be playing up the teatard stuff because he thinks it will help him politically.

    He’s a moron who’s about to fall ass-backwards into a Congressional seat.

  22. 22
    Chris G. says:

    @Roger Moore: This midterm is the GOP’s dead cat bounce. Look at who they’re recruiting, and look at who’s likely to win — you don’t rebuild a party by getting Dan Coats and Mike Castle and Roy Blount and Terry Branstad and a bunch of other guys in their 60s and 70s elected.

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