Why Does the NY DSCC Exist?

I spent two days this weekend at different post election debriefs. While they were mostly focused on a national viewpoint, I did have the chance to meet three different folks who all had experience working the election side of the State Senate. I threw my "the DSCC doesn't want to win" rap on all three and each time the reaction was something like "You're just now figuring this out?"

Marc Humbert of the AP doesn't quite go that far, but he comes pretty close.

Democratic sweep did little for state Senate

ALBANY, N.Y. -- While Democrats easily swept every statewide office at stake in New York on Election Day and took three congressional seats away from Republicans, things were not nearly as rosy for Democrats in state Senate races.

Things might have been a whole lot better for Senate Democrats and much worse for the Senate GOP if a bit more money and attention had been focused on the races. Instead, the GOP lost just one seat and is expected to hold a comfortable 34-28 seat majority in the new Senate.

"It was clearly not the No. 1 priority for Democrats," said state Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who headed up the Senate's Democratic Campaign Committee.

Krueger said the Senate GOP was helped by polls showing Spitzer, Clinton and other statewide Democrats far ahead. That meant Republican donors pumped money into state Senate races, hoping to keep at least a toehold in New York where Democrats also control the state Assembly.

It is not that there weren't other opportunities for the state Senate Democrats.

In Queens, veteran Republican state Sen. Serphin Maltese barely won re-election with 51 percent of the vote against Albert Baldeo, a Democrat who not only didn't get help from the Senate Democrats' central campaign committee, but was largely ignored by the Queens Democratic organization.

"In 20-20 hindsight, I'm sorry I had no data showing that was a race," said Krueger. "That was not on our radar screen."

Writing about the Queens race in the weekly Village Voice newspaper, Wayne Barrett suggested Baldeo's lack of help might have more than a little to do with the close relations that had developed over the years between Maltese, the Queens County GOP chairman and a former state Conservative Party state chairman, and the county's Democratic leadership. Maltese has held the Senate seat since 1988.

Early this year it appeared that Maltese might be in real trouble when Republican New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg let it be known that he might support a possible challenge for the Senate seat being contemplated by Democratic city Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. Bloomberg and the Queens GOP had been at odds during his successful re-election bid in 2001 and the mayor was also complaining the state Senate GOP wasn't being generous enough to the city. The possible Addabbo challenge quickly disappeared after Bloomberg and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno made peace.

Meanwhile, on Long Island, Republican Caesar Trunzo, in the Senate since 1972, won re-election with just 53 percent of the vote against a Democrat given little help by the Senate minority. State Senate Democrats also did little to help candidates running for open seats on Staten Island and in the Utica area. On Staten Island, Democrats even had an advantage in enrollment for the seat being vacated by Republican John Marchi.

Part of the problem for Senate Democrats was that Minority Leader David Paterson had let it be known more than a year ago that he did not believe Democrats could take the Senate in 2006 and that the real target was 2008. Such statements did little to encourage fundraising.

"We were dramatically outgunned with money," Krueger told The Associated Press on Thursday. She estimated the GOP spent more than $7 million while she was able to muster less than $2.5 million.

Then, Paterson got tapped to become Spitzer's running mate, leaving Senate Democrats with a lame-duck leader through the election cycle. While Spitzer and Paterson did lend a hand in some Senate races, their attention was obviously elsewhere.

Senate Democrats were helped in 2004 by the larger turnout that accompanies presidential elections, especially in a state as blue as New York. More than 7.4 million voters trooped to the polls in 2004 while just over 4.2 million turned out in 2006 in a state where there are more than 5 million Democrats and just 3 million Republicans.

The problem now faced by Democrats is that they have now given the GOP a roadmap of the potential targets for 2008. In politics, as in much of life, forewarned is forearmed.

LINK:reprinted from The Albany Project Blog

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Sending Help, Slowly

Writing in today's Times, Jonathan Hicks hit on the curious indifference some Democrats have exhibited towards their party's razor-thin loss to Republican state Senator Serph Maltese in Queens.

The theory behind the lack of interest is that Maltese enjoys good relations with his Democratic counterparts that has somehow tempered their enthusiasm for ending his legislative career. And as a member of the majority, he's been a reliable source of state aid for the city and Queens in particular.

But a Democratic insider told me there's been a slight change of attitude.

Senate Democrats will be sending lawyer Henry Burger - who is in charge of the Andrea Stewart-Cousins recount in Westchester - to oversee the recount in Queens, where less than 800 votes separates Maltese from his opponent, Albert Baldeo.

-- Azi Paybarah

LINK: reprinted from the Politicker Blog

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Recounting Maltese

According to a Democratic operative working on Albert Baldeo's senate campaign, he is now down 600 votes to incumbent Republican Serph Maltese, with 1,202 votes to be counted tomorrow.

If Maltese hangs on, Senate Democrats will have two years to wonder about the what the result might have been if they had actually sunk some money into that race.

-- Azi Paybarah

LINK: reprinted from The Politicker Blog

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Paterson defends Dems’ Senate showing

State Senate Democratic Leader David Paterson argues that given Republican fund-raising advantages, it was a “great victory” for Democrats to gain one chamber seat, even in the context of Democratic landslides in statewide races and takeovers of statehouses across the country. He says Senate Democrats were outspent 4 to 1 by an entrenched Republican majority, yet ousted the third-most-powerful GOP senator, Nick Spano in Westchester, and came within 1,000 votes of defeating Serf Maltese in Queens.

But some say Mr. Paterson is to blame for not defeating Mr. Maltese. He provided no help to Mr. Maltese’s Democratic opponent, Albert Baldeo, who raised much of his $104,000 from family members and the South Asian community. Mr. Maltese raised $283,000, and state Senate Republicans paid for his literature mailings, says Mr. Baldeo’s campaign manager, Gary Tilzer.

LINK: reprinted from New York Business News

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2006 NY 15th SD

Antagonistic?

Another good read on Queens politics, or try this, a slightly shorter version of the same article, published in the New York Press.

Note the explanation give by State Senator and County GOP Chair Serphin Maltese in the first (longer) version of the article as one of the reasons they did not do more to back Stu Mirsky's candidacy against a local Democratic incumbent: “. . . the main club backing Mirsky had been very antagonistic toward the county leadership, but I think we have it worked out and have absolute unity now.”

As President and one of the founders of the Rockaway Republicans, I can say definitively that we were NOT "antagonistic" towards the County leadership when we began and only ended up at odds with them because of the way they reacted to our efforts to revive a Republican presence in our area. In fact, we reached out to the County organization repeatedly for help in getting started though they ignored us for nearly a year before we finally managed to get their attention. When we did, they played "hard to get." Instead of welcoming us into the fold, they threw up hurdles.

Submitted by TomL on Thu, 11/16/2006 - 12:50pm.

We're Digging Our Own Grave

The Village Voice has a fascinating report this week about how the non-aggression pacts between Republicans and Democrats in the boroughs will soon crumble now that the judicial nominating conventions have been eliminated.

Exhibit #1? Senator Maltese winning his race by only about 51%.

Watching Serph nearly go down on election day, I said to myself: Self, these deals can't continue because the grassroots won't allow it. But, it looks like the Democrat grassroots are going to do a better job ending it than we are.

If you think '06 was bad, just wait till '08. We're screwed. Unless we decide to fight.

Submitted by Luke VL on Tue, 11/14/2006 - 3:12pm.
 

SENATOR MALTESE LEADS CHALLENGER BY ONLY 743 VOTES.

Unofficial results

State Senate District 15
Serphin R. Maltese [GOP] 17122 51.17%
Albert Baldeo [Dem] 16339 48.83%
Reporting: 209 of 209 precincts - 100.00 percent

Paper ballots not counted yet!

I think this is Democrat party's top prioity race for 2008!

Submitted by ProudNeoCon on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 12:27pm.
 

Supporting the 2nd Amendment = Supporting Terrorists

At least according to Serph Maltese's challenger in the 15 State Senate district, Albert Baldeo.

“… In the final senate race, Baldeo is challenging Maltese. Baldeo has raised $46,383 in campaign funds—much of it from his own pockets—as he attempts to unseat the 18 year incumbent. He has used the money to run a series of advertisements in local papers that attack Maltese’s record on reform, education and gun control. “He is an ally to terrorists. His voting record shows that he favors guns on the street,” Baldeo said in an interview this week. …”

For all the flak Peter King is getting for saying Manhattan is similar to Baghdad, I fully expect the media to jump all over Baldeo. Or, because this is considered a non-race, does the media feel it has better things to do?

If a no-name Democrat cries Hitler in the woods, does the media hear?

Submitted by Scott Sala on Thu, 10/19/2006 - 4:43pm.

NY Sun's Alicia Colon's Shock

She is echoing something I've learned about in my district. I am finding more and more conservative minded minority Democrats. Getting them to vote their values is a job I am working hard at accomplishing.

Quoting Alicia (at http://www.nysun.com/article/40158) "I did just learn that a black entrepreneur, Herman Cain, has donated $1 million to support the candidacy of black GOP candidates. In a press release issued last week, he writes: "More and more African Americans are pro-life, pro-family, pro-school choice and pro-growth. We are working to earn their trust and their votes — and are making incredible gains in the community. Our message to African Americans is simple — it's time you vote for candidates who support our values — Republican candidates!"

Yikes: That definitely does not augur well for the Democratic Party, which has more or less taken the black vote for granted. It's another matter in New York, because the Republicans here have written off that same vote."

I don't agree with everything she says, but I have found that this applies to the Hispanic community as well.  My peers are more and more looking at the Democratic party and finding they no longer have a home.  Let's show them where they are most welcome.  Here with the Republican Party.

Submitted by YvetteVB on Fri, 09/22/2006 - 10:16am.

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