My Best Guesses

Here are the tea leaves I'm reading to explain why Matt Zeller ended up with the nod to run for the 29th seat:

  • Last night I was randomly polled by "Central Research" on a New York State Senate matchup: incumbent Republican Jim Alesi versus Mary Wilmot. Wilmot was one of the names mentioned for the 29th seat, so this explains where she's going.
  • With the rumor that Assemblyman Joe Errigo may retire, my guess is that David Nachbar will run for that seat this Fall. Nachbar paid his dues by losing to Alesi in 2008.
  • Democrats don't want to lose David Koon's seat. With the possibility of the special election either not happening, or coinciding with the September primary, a Koon run would have endangered his seat, so he's out of the 29th fight.

The Monroe County Democratic Party would rather keep Koon's seat, and put two independently wealthy self-funders up for the Alesi and Errigo seats, than take a long shot in the 29th. That's how Zeller became the sacrificial lamb in this race.

Alesi's seat is probably unwinnable, because he's both moderate and reasonably popular, but what Mary Wilmot will spend to try to take the seat amounts to a rounding error in the Wilmorite fortune. Using her money to put a dent in Alesi is an appealing prospect for the MCDC. The Errigo seat is probably gettable, and Nachbar is the best candidate that the MCDC has, so his positioning makes sense.

It ain't pretty, but I'm pretty sure that's what happened.



I am not discounting your theory, it sounds pretty logical and to get at the insiders that know why may never happen.

There is an interesting post on Monroe Rising about this that also has reference to a D&C story. Taht says the party snubbed Koon:

Zeller was approached to run for the seat by someone in Washington in the days before the Massa scandal hit the news, Danaher said.

Rocky over there has this as his opinion about the so called snub.

Regardless of why the sad thing is that during the upcoming summer with some very importatnt votes and a vote on a bill that was landmark type
the 29th district has no representation regardless of their party.

Who's David Koon?

The reason he was 'shafted' and won't be the candidate is because no one knows who he is south of Monroe County, i.e., where the voters are. The last few elections have taught us that you can't win by just winning Monroe County (Massa's loss in 2006 and his win in 2008 when he won because of Cattaraugus and Allegany) but you CAN win without it (Houghton's win in 02 and Kuhl's wins in 04, and 06).

Of course that's all going to change after the next round of redistricting, but for now Zeller has a better, albeit miniscule chance because of ties around the district outside of Monroe (or so he says, no one I know of has ever heard of him, and I'd be curious to see where and if he's been voting or if we'll have another embarassing Nachbar situation where he's not registered to vote as a Dem in NY).

Are they planning "to unveil" Zeller's candidacy some time this week? I think I read that. It will be interesting to observe how professionally (or not) that process unfolds.

The Errigo seat is "gettable"? I don't think so. At least not by Nachbar.

Republicans in that assembly district have a 15,000 voter enrollment advantage over Democrats. And of course, 2010 should be a big Republican year.

In 2008 - a big Democratic year - Nachbar received just 39% of the vote in a Senate District where Democrats enjoy a 2,000 voter enrollment edge.