Leader Year-End Roundup

Reader Elmer sends today's front-page article [pdf] (and jump [pdf]) looking back at the 29th race.

The article pins Massa's victory on a combination of hard campaigning and Kuhl mis-steps, and it's worth a read.


It appeared to me that Randy was never comfortable being a congressman. He seemed to have a problem articulating where he stood on the issues and disliked being criticized by the public and the media. And to me, he never came across as having any core beliefs, unless of course, you believe bringing home the bacon is a core belief. He was an absolute poor campaigner and seemed to dislike having to campaign. Maybe that's what 20 years of uncontested races in the State legislature will do to you.

Campaigning is a pain. I don't blame Randy for not liking it, but he should have taken it more seriously.

Randy LOVED being a congressman but he thought the job would be like his years in Albany only on a much grander scale. You bring home the bacon, hold town hall meetings attended by Republican Mayors, Supervisors, Town Council members and retirees who contribute to your campaign. Your new friends George and Karl let you fly on Air Force One and ride in limos with them. Life is good, the job is GREAT and re-election will be easy. Then along came Eric.

In the week before the election Keuka College was able to get both Kuhl and Massa to make separate appearances on campus. I attended both events.

Kuhl could not even answer a direct question without wandering and taking many times longer than necessary, and in the end failing to give an answer. In particular, one person asked "I'm new to the area. Why should I vote for you?" Kuhl never did get to a firm answer.

Massa, on the other hand, was energetic and focused on his audience, primarily students. When asked a question, he answered it. Maybe not directly and succinctly (what politician ever does?), but he gave an answer and made sure the person asking the question and the audience understood his answer. He focused on future jobs and education, since those were presumably the interests of most of the audience. A rather different presentation than I had seen him give several weeks earlier to a open community meeting.

I thought that if Massa did not win the election, he had a future as a teacher or professor in some area of history or political science.

This is why the strategy being floated by some conservatives -- to try to trip Massa up at public meetings -- is so misguided. Massa's pretty good in public, and he enjoys some back-and-forth, even with people who disagree with him.

"Keuka" hit the nail right on the head. Randy never--never--had a serious challenger before, except possibly for when he initially ran for the Assembly and then Bath Mayor John Bryson ran against him on the Democratic ticket. But that was a wipeout. I never would have dreamed that, in my lifetime, I'd see not just one (Mr. Lundine) but now a second Democrat represent this county. And getting elected in A PRESIDENTIAL year? Unheard of---or so I thought. Can't wait to see who goes up against Mr. Massa. Give the newly elected Sheriff, Joel Ordway, ten years or so and maybe so. Otherwise, anyone ready now from this neck of the woods? Maybe the young Mayor of Corning or, for that matter, David Wallace--Mayor of Bath. But methinks Mr. Massa is gonna represent us for quite some time. Again--a remarkable campaign and real tribute to the ticket-splitting savvy of Southern Tier voters.