Tuesday, October 31, 2006

News Rounds

Fox News' Martin Frost has our district in his races to watch on election night:

...I am now even more certain that Democrats will take control of the House and believe the net gain will be at least 30 seats and that we will certainly know the outcome early in the evening. My optimism is fueled by the Mark Foley-page scandal and the worsening situation in Iraq.

Here’s my updated list of races to watch by time zone.

Let’s start by noting that the Democrats’ magic number is now 12, rather than 15. Democrats clearly will win DeLay’s old seat in Texas (the Republicans must run a write-in campaign that is virtually impossible with new electronic voting machines), Foley’s seat (under a bizarre Florida election statute voters must vote for Foley in order to have their votes counted for the replacement nominee) and Jim Kolbe’s seat in Arizona (Republicans have given up on this race).

New York: All of a sudden there are six Republican seats in New York in play: seats currently held by Sherwood Boehlert (who is retiring), John Sweeney, Randy Kuhl, Tom Reynolds, Sue Kelly and Jim Walsh. Two victories mean that Democrats are on their way. Any more than that is the leading edge of a wipeout. Defeating Reynolds would be particularly sweet for Democrats since he is the current chairman of the House Republican campaign committee.

In today's NY Daily News:

A state official ruled that the New York State Police improperly denied a request for information about police responses to the home of powerful Republican Rep. John Sweeney. The executive director of the state's Committee on Open Government, Robert Freeman, ruled in a July advisory opinion that the police had no right to refuse the request from a producer at WNYT-TV in Albany.

The station requested records indicating the number of times the police had been called to the home of Sweeney, a former executive director of the state Republican Party who represents the Albany area. The state police refused on the grounds that releasing such records would violate privacy.

There is no indication whether or not such records exist.

The state police .response was "inconsistent with law," Freeman wrote in his opinion, which was given to WNYT but not publicly released. "When a trooper or police officer is called to a certain location, the presence of that person with his or her .vehicle, again, is not secret."

Sweeney is normally a safe incumbent, but the gregarious congressman faces a tough battle for reelection against .Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand after a series of personal and public embarrassments.

Sweeney was photographed this year disheveled at a fraternity party with students, and the state Democratic Party has demanded Sweeney release "records documenting his arrests and drunk driving incidents to the media."

Sweeney's office didn't respond to requests for comment on the story, though he has said he has nothing to hide.

The chief counsel for the state police, Glenn Valle, said in an e-mailed statement that they disagree with Freeman's opinion. "When the state police investigates a matter, and makes no arrest, the persons involved have a recognized privacy interest, and public disclosure would violate that interest," he wrote. "The policy is applied in any case, irrespective of the identity or position of any individual involved."

And the Majority Watch Round Two Poll is still showing Gillibrand ahead. Not that we care what polls say, but still it is more recent than the last independent poll.


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