Missed Opportunity







Maltese, Serphin (i)





Baldeo, Albert




 “By rights, with a ticket headed by Spitzer…running against “…the latest Albany revolving door bagman (followed on the ballot by a Senate race between Hillary and …“Mr. Lost His Condom in Yonkers” …), this should be a banner year for Senate Democrats, but they’ve had trouble even fielding place-holder candidates in marginal districts. “ 

Gatemouth on Room 8 5/10/06 

” Maltese, like Padavan, is a long-term Queens Republican incumbent representing an overwhelmingly Democratic district who has run unopposed the last two elections. However, Maltese endorsed a Republican rival of Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, and since then Bloomberg has been seeking revenge. The nominally Republican mayor tried hard to recruit Democratic Councilman Joseph Addabbo to run against Maltese, but Addabbo backed out, leaving attorney Albert Baldeo as the Democrat in the race. Baldeo has raised only $35,000 to over $130,000 for Maltese. While Maltese is probably weaker than Padavan, Baldeo is the reason this race isn't a better pickup opportunity than the 11th; during a primary campaign for a city council seat last year he and an opponent engaged in a feud that led to both getting arrested. The district is 1/4 hispanic, which could play to Baldeo's advantage. This race leans for Maltese, and we could have done better than Baldeo for a candidate. LIKELY R” 

Scott in New Jersey on Daily Kos – 9/15/06

“In Serph Maltese’s race, he faces Democrat Al Baldeo, who, during a run for City Council, was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on his opponent’s wife; the most remarkable thing is that the certifiably nutcase incumbent, Allan Jennings, was not involved in the incident. In fairness, the charges were later dismissed, and Baldeo went on to run third. In further fairness, one can be sure that Serph would zealously advocate for Baldeo’s right to keep, bear, and recklessly misuse armaments of any kind, as long as they were not aimed at a stem cell. I do not know which is worse, Maltese’s record as a far right reactionary, or his exemplification of the City’s Senate Republican record of being penny-wise and pound foolish. He readily packs his schools with member items, while signing onto funding formulas which weaken our entire school system, including the schools in his own district. Serph’s solution is always to apply a localized band-aid to a gangrenous wound, which in the end gives his constituents the appearance of special VIP service, while exacerbating their problems. But, while Baldeo would certainly be an improvement, and I endorse him with all guns blazing, saying "let’s give him a shot", one wonders why a stronger opponent could not be found in this year of all years.”

Gatemouth on Room 8 – 11/6/06


Submitted by Gatemouth on Room 8 5/10/06

Well, either Scott and I were right, or Al Baldeo was a model candidate and political genius. But, if he was so talented, someone at the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee should have spotted it, and given him some more help. And, if as I suspect, there could have been a better candidate, then one should have been recruited; Lord knows, the demographics of this area have changed so rapidly that no gerrymander could have blunt its impact, at least not half as much as much as it was blunted by the ineptitude of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which was clearly asleep at the switch.  

Special mention must also be given to “Democrat” Assemblyman “Fat Tony” Seminario who endorsed Maltese and should now be forced to wake up and smell the coffee (but if he did, would probably just send out for some doughnuts). Fat Man, The Times They Are a Changin’. Your district’s Archie Bunkers have been replaced by the Bumblebee Man, Apu and Borat; the neo-Nazis you used to have to run against are now a distant memory, like the last time you saw your toes. It is time you experienced some new cuisine reflective of the people you now fail to represent; try it; you’ll like it. And try being a real Democrat, or your new constituents may just decide to retire you to Staten Island.  The only useful partisan purpose served by Seminario's performance was to make the lame efforts of the Queens Organization look good by contrast.

But it was not only Seminario, a right wing DINO, who let Baldeo down; it was the left as well:

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/05/2006 - 5:12pm.

“This year, only one candidate in State Senate 15, Dem Albert Baldeo, interviewed with WFP and they withheld the endorsement and chose to leave the line blank rather than give it to him. Sen Maltese is the most conservative nut job in the Senate and yet they didn't budge. WFP is just a glorified prostitute.”

As this goes to press, in Yonkers, Andrea Stewart-Cousins hang on to a slim lead of 1149 votes, which, to her, defeated last time by 18 votes, may seem like a landslide. Last time her defeat owed to WFP endorsing her opponent, Nick Spano; this time WFP ostensibly stood on the sidelines, while their affiliate organizations worked for Big Nick. In the biggest Democratic NYS landslide in a lifetime, the Senate Democrats will, if lucks hold out, take one new seat. That victory, and Baldeo’s. would have been assured with WFP support.

Thanks guys.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 2:19am.

This is the fucking fault of that whore WFP. They refused Baldeo their endorsement and line. Instead they chose to leave the line blank.

Maltese had the Independent and Conservate and Republican lines. Baldeo only had the DEM line.

WFP was the fucking problem here. 743 fucking votes!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 2:23am.

The DSCC deliberately ignored Baldeo's requests for NOT financial assistance since he dipped into his own pockets but for a couple Democratic big wigs to help him campaign.

He sat down with the DSCC in Nov 2004 and the DSCC didn't do shit!

He also spoke to WFP in Oct. 2004, and they fucking waffled and ultimately did nothing!

Submitted by Roscoe Conway on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 4:00am.

I yield to no one in my contempt for the WFP and my desire to blame them for every foul deed up to and including the fate of Joseph Force Crater.

That said, I feel compelled to point out that 2006 represents the third such landslide year in New York within my lifetime, the second within my memory, and the first with a Working Familes Party.

In 1964, coattails had real meaning - or, as the old punchline went, "Your ferryboat's name is Franklin D. Roosevelt." - and the Democrats took the State Senate for the first time in 30 years.  Democrats in far flung regions of the state, when awakened by congratulatory phone calls, responded "I got elected to what?".

In 1986, Mario Cuomo won counties not taken by a Democrat since the gubernatorial candidacy of Grover Cleveland.  In true Cuomo fashion, however, he did so while portraying himself as the People's Tribune, battling a faceless, corrupt legislature.  This, er, "distancing" did nothing to help Democratic Senate chances.  At the same time, the Senate Democrats were united, determined and putting in the kind of effort that ultimately convinced Bob Morgenthau (and a young Eliot Ness Spitzer) that Cuomo was absolutely right.  Republicans held the Senate.

In 2006, Eliot Spitzer won in a landslide similar to Cuomo's 1986 victory.  As of this writing, the net impact on the Senate Dems seems to have been to re-elect Andrea Stewart Cousins to the Senate seat she won in 2004 and of which she may have been deprived by the exertions of her own election lawyers.

As much fun as it may be to pillory the WFP for the 2006 results, these structural factors must be considered:

1) Malapportionment.  As Alfred E. Smith (FFM) once said, "The State Senate is Constitutionally Republican".  The Nassau and Suffolk seats which remain in GOP hands are a tribute to the mapmaker's computer and the Assembly Majority's willingness to strike a deal protecting all incumbents.

2) Concentration of resources.  The Republicans knew early on this year that the Senate was going to be the only game in Albany, effectively forfeiting the statewide races.  Party and contributors alike were free to throw all their sandbags up around Uncle Joe's Band, and they did.

3) DSCC.  David Paterson's elevation to LiteGov-in-waiting without the immediate designation of a successor left the ambitious members of his caucus in disarray.  Remember, even the Titanic needed a Captain.  The personalities and ambitions involved in the race for succession - and Paterson's initial plan to let things sort themselves out after the election - could not have brought focus to the DSCC.

4)  Hevesi.  There was room on the ferryboat Eliot Spitzer for only one passenger this year.  That passenger's name was not "Democratic Senate Majority".  It was, instead, "Vote for the Crook, It's Important."  Whatever coattails may have existed were exhausted by the Hevesi win.  Thanks, Professor.

The WFP can be saddled with the responsibility for certain individual races, but I can't ascribe to them the entire record of failure.

That credit belongs to the Senate Democrats' thalidomide-withered political arm by dint of its candidate recruitment efforts, its writing-off of upstate New York and the internal stresses of leadership by troika.  What a great improvement over the Marty Connor era. 

Submitted by 628 (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 4:53am.

The Republicans will control the New York state Senate for one reason only, and for the reason they have in the past, because New York Democratic politicians want them too.  There was enough of a Democratic wave this year that the Dem- Senate leader elect had to all but announced this.  This stuff is getting blatant enough that the usually incumbent friendly NY Times called on voters to vote for Republicans for the State Assembly and for Democrats for the State Senate.

A Republican state Senate gives the Democrats a good enough excuse to continue business as usual in New York.  The problem is, this isn't 1913 (when the legislature impeached and removed a reform-minded governor) when this was one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world and could tolerate some graft.  Modern day New York is a combination of a city no one can afford to live in and an upstate where no one can find jobs.  

We are probably four years away from a collapse of the state tax base.  Until then, we pretty much got the State Senate the Dem NY establishment wanted.   Its a contrast from the federal House where enough progressive and populists got swept in to at least make things interesting for the next two years.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 5:36am.

That boob Pat Jenkins, nominal Deputy CM for Spitzer for Queens County, hates Indians (like Baldeo) and did nothing to pass on repeated pleas for campaign assistance from the Baldeo Campaign.

WAY TO GO PAT! I hope Spitzer doesn't put you in charge of his reelection bid.

Submitted by Gate (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 7:32am.

"In the biggest Democratic NYS landslide in a lifetime"Roscoe: the words were carefully chosen. In Cuomo's 86 victory, his coat tails did not even extend to the Democratic candidates for Comptroller (Herman Badillo) and US Senate (Mark Green) (Now that's a ticket for the ages!). And 64 was a Presidential year, not quite an "NYS landlside". Probably should have chosen the wordseven more carefully. Incidentally, point number three has been taken in this column before here (did you catch Bill Maher making the same Mamet reference Friday?) While point number one is mentioned here.   

Submitted by dorothy siegel (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 2:01pm.

The incompetence of the Democratic Party in failing to win ANY state senate seats from nutcase Republicans during a landslide Democratic sweep of the entire state (and country) should be laid at the feet of the Working Families Party?

Say, wha?

Nice try, Oh Erudite One.

With insightful analysis like that, no wonder only 5 far-out non-Democrats read and comment on your blog on a regular basis.

Submitted by Roscoe (not verified) on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 2:48pm.

The true "Ticket for the Ages" was Goldberg/Paterson, and if you want to know why, you'll have to ask Dan O'Connell.

What, by the way, is a "nutcase Republican" with respect to the State Senate majority?

Gate:  Don't read my previous comments as an attempt to strike an alliance with Bugsy Siegel.  They stand on their own.  At the same time, I am a non-Democrat, I am far and I am out, so should I be concerned about what that makes me?

LINK: reprinted from Room 8


Was 2006 an opportunity squandered by New York State democrats?

Submitted by Liza Sabater on Thu, 2006-11-09 11:29.

That's the question posed in the New York Times' article Republicans Keep Control of the Senate in New York. I hate to say it, but I have to agree with Michael Cooper :

For Democrats who have long sought to take control of a Senate in New York that has seemed stubbornly out of reach even though the state has 5.5 million registered Democrats and only 3.1 million registered Republicans, 2006 proved to be a squandered opportunity.

Some Democrats believed that too little was done on Senate races to take advantage of a year when their party got almost all the breaks on the rest of the statewide ticket. Republicans, by contrast, worked feverishly to protect their majority. For the Republicans, it was a critical fight: since many of them had already written off the governor’s race, they concentrated on the Senate hoping to retain a power base in Albany.

Controlling even one house of the Legislature, they knew, would effectively give them veto power over much of what goes on in the state: they would have to approve all of Mr. Spitzer’s budgets, agree to his legislative proposals, and even give their approval to many important construction projects and grand plans around the state.

Given that prospect, the Democrats did relatively little to try to take the Senate. They put some of their star power behind their State Senate candidates — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Spitzer stumped for Ms. Stewart-Cousins — but did little to share the wealth that poured into the campaign coffers at the top of the ticket. Republicans, by contrast, raised money at a furious clip for their Senate candidates.
[emphasis added]

I feel NY Democrats need to multi-task a bit more with their local, state-wide and national priorities.

A lot of money was raised for campaigns elsewhere. Think Ned Lamont. Think Jim Webb. I am speaking as an outside observer of the whole process but, I feel the State Senate and Assembly races were considered ... ahem ... less sexy. The fervor to get behind a Jim Webb didn't seem to be there when needed to topple a Nick Spano.

The issue is not about good intentions or desire. The issue is always money. I honestly don't understand why more money was not put up by the state party for GOTV initiatives. Why isn't there a push to make New York a true blue state, especially upstate.

You know what the state's priority should have been? Treat every high-profile Republican seat as a must-win election. Target the mofos and scare them to death.

I honestly am blown away by the amount of work and devotion progressives are still showing to the Democratic party in New York. Without state-wide grassroots organizations like Democracy for New York, New Democratic Majority, would we have upsets like John Hall's?

If Stewat-Cousins wins, she would have been the only upset in Albany. Why? Why couldn't we have picked up 3, 4, 6 seats this time around?

Please, enlighten me


Submitted by Daniel Millstone on Thu, 2006-11-09 13:51.
the Democrats did not wish control of the State Senate in this cycle. In Queens, Serph Maltese won re-election by 800 or so. Had Democrats funded that race, as well as the SI race of Matthew Titone for an open Senate Seat, they might have produced better outcomes. The decision to, in effect, give Joe Bruno a pass this year may haunt Democrats in the future, but it also will give them a reason why, on day two, everything hasn't changed.
Submitted by rwallnerny on Thu, 2006-11-09 14:19.
I agree, I think Eliot Spitzer convinced the party to make a strategic decision to lay off the state senate this cycle. The reason being that with all the things he wants to accomplish up there, he needs a scapegoat for a while. A good guy needs some bad guys. So they let Bruno and his boys sit up in Albany for another cycle while Spitzer and co. circle the wagons, and make the changes that will improve the possibility of voting these guys out (such as overhauling the rules for when/where and who gets to gerrymander districts)
Submitted by Bouldin on Fri, 2006-11-10 01:30.
"Yes, this was a wasted opportunity".

However, we did pick up an Assembly seat in Staten Island with Janele Hyer-Spencer, who is definitely going places. Other than that, 100% same-party control.

Submitted by JAD (not verified) on Fri, 2006-11-10 14:39.
I agree that the decision not to go after the State Senate was strategic - Spitzer and, to a lesser extent, Clinton wanted nothing to surpress their victory margains and the local Democratic organizations didn't think it was worth the effort this year. (This risk avoidance also probably had more to do with Spitzer's spurning of Hevesi than any commitment to principle.)

The problem is this strategy was woefully short sighted and might have made it far more difficult for the Democrats to take over the Senate before the next reapportionment. Remember, there are now only two more elections ramaining before the lines are re-drawn. Although the Democrats should sweep the State in the 2008 Presidential race, the margain of victory and the potential coattail effect will, in all probability, not be a great as this year's - especially if Guiliani is on the ticket. In 2010, the ticket may very well be headed by a far less popular and more controversial Governor Spitzer and winning the Senate might not even be in the picture. This will really make us rue the day that we did not take the opportunity in 2006 when we had the chance.

Another thing that bit the Democrats in the ass this year was the prior failure to provide competitive races to local Reublican State Senators. If this had been done in Maltese's district, the extent to which the old boy was really vulnerable would have become very apparent and enboldened a more serious candidate to come forward this year.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 2006-11-12 16:27.

would be the best way (in my humble opinion) to categorize the Dems' failure to capture more seats in the NYS Senate. Another way to express it might be business (or chaos) as usual; in fact, there was no opportunity - merely the illusion of one.

Spitzer had a strategy to win his race; he's been laying the foundation for several years, and his impressive victories (first in the primary, then in the general) are evidence of his forethought.

There was no such strategy - and no organization -on the part of the state Dem party. Issues, not ideology drove these election results, and it's very difficult to create a statewide "brand identification" campaign when you don't have a statewide organization capable of acheiving the necessary leverage.

Spitzer built his own organization, and did a superb job - but it simply wasn't big enough to support every race. The state Dems' followed Spiter's lead because they had no choice and because it was evident early on that it would be a landslide victory. Those races that he did support - Phil Nolan in Suffolk, and Brooke Ellison, were probably chosen due to early and strong connectivity to the Spitzer campaign; something that was clearly lacking in most other races - and even there, Nolan's win was aided by it being a three-way race .

Ellison's run was hurt by the very evident fact that if she were to win, she'd be unable to accomplish anything once she got to Albany. She was unable to articulate how she'd successfully address the issues she chose to define her campaign; all she had was her very obvious connection to Spitzer in her ads - and that wasn't enough to overcome a well-entrenched incumbent.

Ten or so years ago, when the R's still controlled judiciary races in Nassau, a Garden City Dem attorney was dragooned into running. Thinking that she's have no chance, she did no campaigning, and didn't even make up flyers or bumper stickers - and the party offered no assistance. She lost, but by only a few hundred votes. History repeats itself.

Submitted by Brian of Connecticut (not verified) on Fri, 2006-11-10 21:12.

You didn't expect a push for pickups to come from establishment Democrats, did you? Among the many lessons of the national election is this: if we want to pick up seats for our party, we have to do it ourselves. Left to Rahm Emanuel, he would have seen his shadow and left the House to 2 more years of winter. It's the Chris Carneys and John Halls we have to thank for our plus-30 wins.

Also - like the pre-Dean national party that gave up on a Democratic America between the coasts, I think the NYS party has given up on the idea that they can reach out to the western and northern marches of the state. Not only should we think about taking control of the State Senate, but we should start targeting upstate Assembly seats as well.

Why more Assembly seats is important: here in CT, we got smoked by Jodi Rell in the governor's race. She can have it - we won veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers.

LINK: reprinted from The Daily Gotham




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