Friday, August 25, 2006

Recent News and Views on the Race

  • Sweeney wants TV stations to pull the Moveon Ads claiming that they contain "factual errors". Funny how Sweeney's ad against Gillibrand have all contained factual errors and how Moveon has a fact sheet up on their website. Someone call the Waaaaam-bulance. How long do we think it will take the Post Star to use this Moveon Ad to claim that Gillibrand's campaign is being negative again? The PS did cover the Moveon Ads with some coverage of Gillibrand's Iraq Policy today, go here for the story.
  • Once again the Sweeney campaign is telling us that ethics violations just don't matter. He held a political event on public property at a workplace in spite of:

...the city ethics code that states: "Officers or employees shall not make use of a city workplace to request ... that any officer or employee participate in an election campaign (or) political event or contribute to a political party or committee." ... (source)

As part of an occasional series from MSNBC.com's roving Tom Curry... How can an incumbent who won with 66% two years ago be in jeopardy today, he asks. Drive through the Albany area on your way to the Saratoga Springs racetrack and you'll notice that Rep. John Sweeney (R) is working overtime to remind the 20th district how indispensable he is. His radio ads are hard to miss: an elderly lady saying that Sweeney got $118,000 in federal money (earmarks!) to buy two buses for the senior citizens' community where she lives. "Effective and independent, he works for us," the narrator chimes in.

Independent? Per its vote ratings for 2005, CQ says Sweeney voted with Bush 82% of the time on roll call votes, Curry says. They parted ways on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and on increased funding of embryonic stem cell research.

As for the $118,000 for the buses, Sweeney says, "Earmarks are one percent of the federal budget, so the buzz coming from the Jeff Flakes on my side of the aisle, and from some demagogic Democrats is just false. Federal spending is out of control because of mandatory spending" and due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said. He calls his earmarks "not pork in my mind; it is necessary requisite spending."

Sweeney is trying to fight off well-funded Democratic lawyer Kirsten Gillibrand. Albany-born and educated at UCLA Law School, she's the daughter of Albany lobbyist Douglas Rutnik and was a counsel to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo in the Clinton Administration. She'd raised $1.2 million in funds as of July 1, compared to Sweeney's $1.7 million.

Sweeney spent Wednesday walking through the Washington County fair; today, Gillibrand will do the same. Sweeney donned an apron and gloves to help the firemen from Argyle, NY grill racks of chicken. "I keep saying to people like Charlie Cook and the rest of them: show me the poll that says this race is what they say it is," Sweeney told Curry. As of last week, the Cook Political Report had this race rated as "lean Republican." Democrats, Sweeney contended, "can't make the plausible argument they can take back the majority without having races like mine and everybody else in the Northeast. That's the sales pitch Rahm Emanuel is giving to the nation. He's trying to create a buzz."

And psychological warfare is crucial, Curry notes: If Emanuel's committee convinces donors that incumbents like Sweeney are vulnerable, and that a wave is building, then maybe it really will build.

It's not buzz, the district is one we can win with the right candidate, which we have. Times are changing and Sweeney's nervous. At the Washington County Fair this week, people said they've seen and liked Gillibrand's ads when I asked if they knew about her yet, the name recognition issue is being taken care of. I predict that the next poll (Siena College is doing one now) is going to reflect that forward momentum. As we reported on the GOP hired poll, we think it does show Sweeney in trouble. See also Sweeney's Pro-pork Votes here.

Mr. Curry was at the fair yesterday as Gillibrand was walking the fairgrounds, introducing herself to voters and talking about the issues.

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