Should Reed Bow to His Betters?

Today's news is full of discussion of area Republicans who think they have some sort of entitlement to run for the 29th seat, now that it's become an easy get instead of a hard slog. Before anyone gets excited about any of these candidates, let's review a few facts.

First, the spectre of re-districting hangs over this seat. In 2002, some furious gerrymandering left Western New York with three Republican incumbents. Only one of those districts (NY-26) is currently held by a Republican, and given current registration trends, it's unlikely that any Republican gimme districts will be left. Any Republican running for the 29th seat has to face the possibility that they'll be redistricted out of a job in two years.

Second, every single member of the New York State Legislature is politically stunted by unopposed elections and easy fundraising. When they step into a real political environment, they end up like Randy Kuhl -- easily led by party hacks, mediocre at fundraising, and bound to make gaffes. George Winner's recent weak performance in the Pulteney frack water controversy is a great example. When he wasn't absent, he was late to the party, and when he finally got to the party, he was uninformed and unimpressive.

Finally, the Southern Tier representative has a special position in the political life of the region. He's the top of the foodchain, a valued consultant to local media on all matters political, and a sought-after guest at civics classes and community events. There's no way that someone from Rochester is going to get a lot of votes in the Tier. Maggie Brooks is popular in Rochester. She's an interloper in the Tier.

Put that all together and it's hard to find a better candidate than Tom Reed. Senator Cathy Young seems a little more intelligent than the average New York Legislator, which is not high praise. Young has also denied interest in the seat. Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli is another possibility -- he gets good press and lives in the right place.

Whatever I think of Reed's politics and political skills, he did have the grit to get into a race that he was pretty sure to lose. Now that the race has opened up, I doubt that he's going to roll over. With the brutal New York State primary schedule, Republicans might want to avoid a costly, reputation-draining contest by keeping Reed as their candidate.


Not sure where this "Reed was a sacrificial lamb" (not your words) talking point comes from. The local GOP jumped at the chance to get him, in a very competitive district. If he was so likely to lose in a year when the GOP is supposed to take over half the contested races, why get behind him in the first place? And granted, Massa is an impressive politician, but he's a freshman in a swing district who squeaked by against the bland Kuhl... not exactly a juggernaut; so why the hesitancy to run against him? There are people who have ten plus years in office in bluer districts with a half-dozen or more Republicans going after them.

This is such a weird district.

I don't know where you or other folks get the notion "Should Reed Bow to His Betters?" I'm not a fan of Reed's at all, but he had the gumption to declare his candidacy early. Any Johnny and Maggie come-latelies can compete with Reed in the primary. Isn't the theory of the primary that it gives the party faithful their chance to pick the party candidate for general election?

That headline was a little bit of sarcasm on my part. There seems to be an attitude that as soon as a seat becomes easy, the candidate who's worked for half a year should just disappear. Whether or not he's the best candidate, it's an unrealistic view of human nature to think that Reed would do that.

That's a very pragmatic analysis.

So the race should be between the Mayor of Hornell and the the former Mayor of Corning? Steuben County is going to get a pretty inflated ego!

As a candidate, Tom Reed is a weak, well, reed. Little experience, poor fundraising and some history (some known and some rumored) that is going to make him vulnerable to some pretty unpleasant stuff. Do people really think the nomination should go to whoever speaks up first? I'd rather it went to the person who might make the best Member of Congress, whenever they choose to run.

I am from Steuben County myself, but if Maggie Brooks runs, I think she'll win. She's a better candidate, a cleaner candidate and more likely to win a general election. And there's nothing wrong with that.

That's not what I hear from other Southern Tier residents, but I'm not going to try to make bank on Maggie losing. But I think there's a Rochester vs. Tier dynamic in the race.

I don't think Reed is the strongest Republican candidate out there. Given what we know about his business interests, I don't see how he can argue for fiscal restraint when he himself delved into the State grant money for his Masonic Temple project. It's time someone other than a politician, career or otherwise, ran for the post.

Something to consider from the GOP point of view -- as mentioned, there's little chance the 29th survives the next round of redistricting. The only reason it largely survived the last time was because of the massive campaign Amo Houghton made to keep things together. No first-term Member will have enough pull to save the district this time. So things are going to change.

As I understand it, Louise Slaughter is likely to retire next time around. That would leave the Rochester area looking for a new Member, and give the GOP the chance to slide Brooks into whatever newly configured Rochester district there is, as a candidate who is a sitting Member of the House. She's likely to be their strongest possible candidate, and it would certainly add to their desire to promote her candidacy right now.

My sources tell me the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) wants Brooks to be the candidate and they don't want a primary. We'll see whether they can make it happen.

It will all depend on whether Reed wants to roll over for the NRCC. And that comes down to what they can give him. What's on their plate that's better than a seat in the House. There isn't much. If I were Reed, I'd stick.

The southern tier Republicans (namely the chairs who are so adamant about supporting Reed) do not want a primary either. In fact, they believe that the first horse out of the gate should, regardless of that horse's prowess. It's truly an irony that the Republican started in the Southern Tier and they are now some of democracy's greatest offenders. I for one want to see a strong Independent candidate come out and take the seat. Oh, and Reed won't bow to the betters, unless the boys inside the beltway tell him too.

You know, this makes sense. Tom Reed, like him or not, DID have the gumption to step up and, yes, I think in his heart of hearts he knew he would be a placeholder on the ticket and not much else. Eric is just too damn impressive and fast an incumbent. Of course, in a way this young man couldn't lose since he would be raising his name iD throughout the Southern Tier in particular, positioning himself to easily succeed George Winner or, for that matter, run for the DA's post in Steuben or a countywide judgeship. If the GOP throws him under the bus, I have great sympathy for him. And I am an Eric Massa admirer. What about that Conservative Fairport (?) supervisor (?) who lost to Randy in the primary years ago? Is he still around? Still viable? You're right, though. A well-financed (and that's the rub, isn't it) independent candidate could come roaring through in this one. Finally, am I the onlyone who thinks that Randy COULD m ake a successful run again? Thank you, as always, for this great blog. Much appreciated by those of us in the boonies, ha ha ha.

Brooks doesn't live in the district and, as you saw with Tedisco, that doesn't really play so well with voters. Brooks is great, imo, but if she wants to run she should challenge Maffei. Plus, as rochester has pointed out, a Monroe candidate, even if they lived in the district, isn't going to play in the southern tier