Winners & Losers: On to November
by Alan Bedenko (@BuffaloPundit) - posted 7:30 am, September 14, 2012
To my mind, last night’s primary election was a repudiation of some ugly things.
SD-62: Even Maziarz, who voted against same sex marriage in 2011, was a victim of an online whisper campaign that was as vicious as it was clumsy. The people associated with it are so inept at good messaging and classic electoral persuasion that they just figured they’d call the guy a queer and see if they could get away with it. But in the end, they couldn’t even muster up the balls to do that. No balls, no win for their selected candidate, Johnny Destino, who lost without Maziarz even breaking a sweat. Maziarz will face Democrat Amy Hope Witryol, who won a primary for the Working Families Party line last night against a Maziarz placeholder.
SD-60: The Republicans of the district didn’t fall for the poor opposition from perennial candidate Kevin Stocker. Stocker’s alliance with local embarrassment Matt Ricchiazzi hurt him in the end – the only free media Stocker ever got during this race involved him having to disavow some simply awful homophobic trash that Ricchiazzi produced and emailed around the country. Ricchiazzi and Stocker were too clever by half, and the whole effort blew up in their faces. Also, no one was buying the tall tales about Grisanti’s supposed bad acts during that Niagara Falls bar fight – no one every produced any proof. Finally, the Stocker campaign’s central theme was that Grisanti lied – he promised to do the wrong thing, but did the right thing instead. That’s not a persuasive line.
On the Democratic side, Pigeon concocted a three-way race to make sure that Chuck Swanick’s path to electoral victory was as smooth as possible. Al Coppola did what Al Coppola does – he lets himself be run to distract the Italian vote in the district and help Pigeon’s guy’s path easier. Coppola got 11%, but more importantly Swanick – who famously received big donations from the horrible, homophobic, anti-equality “National Organization for Marriage” – lost handily to medical malpractice attorney, Democrat Mike Amodeo. Pigeon and homophobia were handily defeated last night.
I’ll note as an aside that I know of several prominent gay men who are aligned with Pigeon and work in City Hall actually circulated petitions and voted for homophobe Chuck Swanick. This is astonishing to me – it’s not unlike a middle-class person voting against his own interests by backing Mitt Romney. Is your own identity and are your own interests so easily shunted aside to do what your bosses tell you to do? That’s sort of disgusting to me.
2. Steve Pigeon
SD-60: Pigeon: it’s what’s for dinner. As noted above, local political scheissmeister Pigeon concocted a race to try and get Swanick to the State Senate, and it failed. Pigeon was riding high when he was Pedro Espada’s patronage hire, navigating the Senate coup where breakaway Democrats, including Espada and under the direction of Floridian billionaire Tom Golisano, permitted the Republicans to take the majority, de facto. It was not dissimilar from what he concocted in the County Legislature back in 2010 where some breakaway Democrats aligned themselves with Chris Collins, and the place became a chaotic joke of a hellhole.
Disgraced through his connection with the coup and its plotters – especially convicted felon Pedro Espada – Pigeon is trying desperately to get back to some sort of position of influence in the State Senate. I think the state can do without that sort of thing, don’t you? Why would we want a guy to mess with the will of the people and to single-handedly play dirty tricks for his own self-aggrandizement again?
3. Carl Paladino, Rus Thompson
As I noted above, they both embarrassed themselves going after Maziarz the way they did, but they did manage to get David DiPietro the nod – barely – to run against Christina Abt in Assembly 147. Abt won her primary on the Independence Party line.
Frankly, DiPietro’s win is a repudiation of Jim Ostrowski’s campaign management skills. Every time DiPietro has run for something as a tea party candidate, Ostrowski has been behind it, and DiPietro lost in a sea of tea party nonsense. This race, he had the help of someone who actually knows how to win elections and handle messaging and GOTV – fellow East Auroran Michael Caputo.
SD-63: Kennedy is also a Pigeon ally, and he was at the forefront of the 2010 legislature coup I noted above. He barely won last night. This was a fun race to watch last night as Betty Jean Grant came up from an 80/20 deficit to take the lead for a brief time. In the end, Tim Kennedy appears to have won in a squeaker, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this ends up in court for some time – the margin of victory is less than 300 votes. This new district includes a great deal of Buffalo’s east side, and as those precincts reported last night, Betty Jean surged unexpectedly.
A-149: Sean Ryan handily defeated Kevin Gaughan. Gaughan really deserves to be given a chance to be elected to something because he’s smart and has great ideas. His problem is that he has a small constituency that isn’t as politically active and astute as Ryan’s entire Hoyt machine. This isn’t even about money, it’s about organization.
UPDATE: Ralph Lorigo lost his bid to be elected to the Conservative Party’s state committee. (HT to TonyinTonawanda in comments)
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